Message from the Superintendent
Being Present is the best Present
Dear ASFM community,
This is my final letter to you all before the Christmas holidays. In my last letter I discussed the origin of the Grinch and ended my message by suggesting that this sneaky green “agua fiesta” creature is actually in all of us. Our challenge is making sure we always share the best, most generous part of ourselves on the outside–everybody will be happier.
In my effort to achieve greater understanding of the meaning of Christmas and this holiday season, I went to one of the greatest sources of authenticity and truth, KinderB. Let’s face it; a kindergartener will tell you exactly what’s important. Ms. Claudia asked her KinderB (“the place to be”) students to complete the following sentence fragment:
I wish my parents...
Here is a sampling of how her students completed the sentence:
-could be with me and play with me
-could play with me and my Barbies
- could play with me all of the days
- could play with my blocks
- could take me to buy a dog
- could go fishing with me
- would listen to me
- would make a house of super heroes with me
- would put their phones away and play with me
- could give me a hug
- could take me to HEB.
- could be happy with me
She did this activity as a verbal exercise where students just finished the sentence fragment with whatever words popped into their minds. Kindergarten students tend to speak their minds–ask any kindergarten teacher. Their message is powerful; they are defining what being present looks like.
It’s pretty clear that “being present” means not looking at your email or phone, but it’s actually much more than this, right? Being present means giving your full attention and NOT thinking about what you need to do next. Kinder wants us to be able to listen like a river. We dam up the river by not listening in order to think about what we want to say next. KinderB, in contrast, let their words and thoughts flow. Because they let their thoughts out easily the conversation gets better and increasingly profound. I challenge us to go with the flow.
KinderB students ask open-ended questions. They want a story as the answer to their questions. Good stories are the basis of a great conversation. This is as simple as changing your question from “Did you have a good day today?” to “What was the best thing to happen today?”
KinderB students stay out of the weeds. They don’t care about names and dates. They care about actions. Are you going to play with me or not? They know what counts; actions speak louder than words. I love their honesty. They remind us that it’s always better to admit you don’t know the answer; seeking truth is always more fun when done together.
Listening is hard. It requires focus, energy, and a willingness to be honest with ourselves. Look at the random list of KinderB’s comments above. They are recording what they see and reminding us of what really matters. Be present.
“The best present for this holiday season is to be present.” Thank you, Ms. Claudia for that quote!
Finally, there is one KinderB recommendation that caught me totally by surprise, but I promised to embrace the challenge, regardless. I’m going to try Skittles “enchilados.” Who’s with me? Rocket fuel for Rudolf?
Have a great Christmas vacation! On behalf of all ASFM I wish you joy, peace and health. See you on January 10 for PCR testing! Hoho. Enjoy our Holiday video: https://vimeo.com/657890361
PS What do you think of our new school videos?: