Mercy MEMO

June 2016

Wit's End . . . Notes from the Principal

You're a smarty pants. Go ahead. Admit it. You know you think so. You're a smarty pants. How do I know? I know because I am a smarty pants too. When did you first know? Was it just few years back? Oh no. Oh no. Others may have only made the discovery about you recently; you, on the other hand, knew it and had it confirmed at least by the time you finished first grade. How do I know? Well, noted author A.A. Milne said as much and wrote on behalf of you, me, and millions of others.

February 2016

Wit's End...notes from the principal

Last month, my thoughts were on heroes. This month, it's all about angels. I am not completely sure why, but I am keenly aware that there is an emerging theme that has begun. I am focused on the need for assistance in our lives. There is so much that one can offer to remedy or improve an existing hardship for another, and I truly want to keep the light on examples of such where I see them happening.

January 2016

Wit's End...notes from the principal

Holding Out for a Hero. Yep, that's what I'm doing. If some of you are of a certain age, you might remember the reference. It's a song title, one written by Jim Steinman and Dean Pitchford, names that very likely don't ring any bells. The song was recorded by Bonnie Tyler in 1984 for the soundtrack of the movie Footloose. Still unfamiliar? Well you can, if interested, consult the internet. If you like music, like rock n' roll, and especially if you like the loud, raucous rock anthems, you are in for a treat. I'll give you a taste by sharing the opening verse and chorus.

Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where's the street-wise Hercules
To fight the rising odds?
Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss and turn and I dream of what I need


I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night
He's gotta be strong
And he's gotta be fast
And he's gotta be fresh from the fight

I need a hero

I'm holding out for a hero 'til the morning light
He's gotta be sure
And it's gotta be soon
And he's gotta be larger than life

We have always been attracted to the idea of a hero. The attraction feeds our need as human beings to be rescued, to be assisted, to have another - bigger and better and more capable than we see ourselves - someone who has our back. Each of us needs allies and when we can hold the belief that a hero is out there and will show up at the opportune moment, it secures our resolve. All we really need to do is just hold on, hold on for some indeterminate amount of time, until the hero reveals itself. Heroes make us more brave.

December 2015

Wit's End...notes from the principal

choice to be hopeful. That's what I am thinking of today. There are probably countless reasons for it: an end to a calendar year approaches; losses, both big and small, have occurred; hundreds upon hundreds of good deeds have been done, and yet too many events of human suffering around the world are witnessed and reported.
And yet, because of that, or possibly despite all that, I can make the choice to be hopeful. So, I remind myself and I offer you the reminder as well. Hopefulness is within your control, within your reach. It always has been so, and yet, like you, I need to be reminded. A brief conversation did just that.
He is a friend of mine, a man I have known for many years. A husband and father himself, he has become newly devoted in recent years to his grandchildren. A few weeks ago in a passing conversation we shared, he was telling me how his daughter and son-in-law had recently acquired a dog and how their very young children were enjoying all the excitement and change that had come as a by-product. His three and a half year old granddaughter who, truth be told, can charm the socks off this man, frequently amazes him with one or more things that come out of her mouth. One of her more recent declarations, announced to her mother, was this: "When I'm done being me, I'm gonna be a puppy."

October 2015

Wit's End...notes from the principal
Today, I am thinking about kindness. Seems simple enough. We all need it. We all give it. We all receive it. Probably, it is oftentimes ignored. Hopefully, its expression is commonplace in your life, but recent months have focused my attention on the power of kindness.

September 2015

Wit's End...notes from the principal

Takin' Care of Business. Most parents have heard that phrase but probably a smaller number of you know the musical reference I'm making. Canadian songwriter, Randy Bachman, penned the tune in 1973 and it was a mega hit for B.T.O. (aka Bachman- Turner Overdrive). The chorus was quite the rock anthem for many years to come and I offer it today to make a point:

May 2015

Keep count. Admit it. You’re counting, and you’re doing so with little recognition. So is your daughter (and any other children in your home). She’s been counting days or maybe hours or even minutes until the school year comes to an official end. She’s been doing the work, the calculations, all along and when this school year can no longer be impacted by anything she does, she’ll redirect that energy to another circumstance; she will continue to keep count.

April 2015

Wit's End . . . Notes from the Principal

Appreciation of moments. How would you rate yourself? Do you consider yourself grateful? If so, under what circumstances? Each day provides dozens, maybe hundreds, or at times, even thousands of singular moments. Which ones get your attention? I get it. Legitimately, one might say that any appreciation is relative; it depends upon the specific situation. Your response and reaction, like mine, is impacted by many factors. I investigate this topic because as the school year winds up, winds down, and makes all the necessary twists and turns, self- awareness might be helpful.

Singular moments don’t always get our attention. There are far too many and a great deal of them might qualify as routine, insignificant, and forgettable. Take those out of consideration. The ones remaining in a given day probably get strung together into events or experiences. Are they noteworthy? Maybe if they surround something either very positive or very negative, a high or a low, we take notice. We acknowledge big things: moments of singular recognition, times when we have the spotlight. These might be good or bad, happy or sad. It could be one’s birthday or anniversary, an award presentation, a competition wherein you fare well, an achievement. It could be a pleasant surprise, an honor bestowed, a party given. If the memorable event brought significant sadness, it could be unexpected loss, death of a family member, an illness, accident, hardship, or setback.

March 2015

Wit's End . . . notes from the principal

What is a Mercy Girl? As a parent, reading this column, you have either first-hand experience in answering this question because one resides in your home (or did in earlier years) or second hand observational knowledge because you know of one. Either way, the list of characteristics would be long and varied. The list would also be gratifying. It is from this vantage point that I look today.