Mercy MEMO

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.

February 2015

Wit's End . . . notes from the principal

“Allow me.” What a nice phrase to hear. So often it precedes an offer of some generosity. Usually it accompanies a polite request that might need no other word because the circumstance precludes explanation: I can open that door for you. I can assist you with something cumbersome. I can take care of that detail. I can relieve you of a burden. It might be followed by an introduction, first and last name, if the person is a stranger to you, thus eliminating an awkward moment.

January 2015

Wit's End . . . notes from the principal

Choose one. OK, be honest. Did those two words cause you even a moment of anxiety? An immediate Uh,Uh. Don’t want to. Don’t make me. Was your first thought one of excitement? Hooray. Can’t wait. Even a fist pumping, Yes!

December 2014

Wit's End . . . Notes from the Principal

Tis the season. Oh, yes it is. Maybe, just maybe, in the last week or so, you have felt put upon. Maybe, just maybe, you have suffered a disappointment, a let-down. Very likely one or more people has stepped on your toes, at least figuratively if not literally. Yes, tis the season. And it is a season (not just an hour or even a day or a week) . . . of stressors and high expectations, of intended communications, and missed understandings. There is a great deal of good tidings and well wishes, but we seem to operate at such warp speed that we miss many of them. In the rush that consumes us quite easily, we give in to the exhaustion. We feel frantic and frazzled and just plain bothered by it all.

Well, take a moment. Sit down. Breathe. I hope when you are done reading this column, you will have had a momentary respite. The outcome is simple and quite easy - voice gratitude. When I am consciously grateful for something or someone, calm occurs. I cannot speak any word of appreciation without feeling, at least at that moment, calm. Each of you needs a bit of calm. How do I know? Tis the season. Enough said.

So let me begin by throwing a statistic at you, a number that will very likely do anything but soothe. Ready? The world’s population has reached seven billion people; that’s billion with a “b.” I bet that surprised at least a few of you. Such a number is nearly incomprehensible, so it is a significant challenge to try and make a connection between the state of one’s own life and the situation of other human beings. Yes, most of us know we have it good, but if you are like me, it is easy to lose sight of just how good.