This week, we had a very meaningful school meeting where we focused on the following questions:
- Share something about myself that I am working on/struggling with that I want others to know about and can help me with.[Examples: self-doubt, perfectionism, integrity, lack of motivation, anxiety, isolation, fear that I can sustain my best efforts, challenges at home, letting others help me, etc.]
- Share something about someone who modeled character and principles in my life. How did they inspire me and what did I learn from them?
[Examples: a family member, a student or faculty member here at school, a mentor, a childhood friend, a grandparent, etc.)
- Share something that I want to do/accomplish/ go after in my life.
[Examples: going to college, starting a business, changing something in society, being a parent, having athletic goals, helping create positive change in the world, etc.]
Many students and faculty members summoned the courage to get up, be vulnerable, and share their thoughts in one of these areas. Some of the comments shared included:
"I am struggling with accepting a win and being proud of myself without second guessing myself."
"I am struggling with taking on too much and then not being able to really strive for excellence."
"My father who is 81 has been a role model all of my life. His integrity, work ethic, and fighting spirit to keep going despite physical challenges has always inspired me."
"I struggle with the fact that I want to do well, and yet there are times when my anxiety takes over."
"I have changed the way I eat and feel good about the weight that I have lost, but it is still a struggle every day to learn this new approach."
For me, I shared about coping with loss in the last year and a half. First, there was the loss of our son Harrison, who died while swimming with his caregiver. That was a loss that came out of the blue, and it has rocked our world even as we try to carry on and bring Harrison's legacy with us each day.
This past week, I experienced another loss, the loss of my mother, Betsy D. Jones. While she was already struggling with health issues at 91, she was still easily the most energetic person in most rooms. A master teacher, she helped her last student last year at 90. She lived a life of courage and grit, and she lived it on her terms. After falling two weeks ago, she declared that she had lived a wonderful life and was ready to face hospice. Of the many messages that have poured in, so many have been from former students who simply said, "She changed my life."
She taught me so many things:
- Live your own life and not someone else's
- Be bold, and never be afraid to pivot
- Having experiences is always better than having stuff (although she had plenty of the latter!)
- Keep learning
- Travel teaches so much
- Everything is for sale - don't be afraid to ask!
- Be proactive and make moves before you have to
While it is still surreal to accept this loss, I am grateful that God gave me this mother. I am inspired to carry her incredible spirit with me. Mom, thank you for all you did for me and I know that you, Harrison, and so many others are making heaven a lot livelier.
Laura D. Gauld '76