Mercy MEMO

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.

November 2014

Wit's End . . . Notes from the Principal

Overconsumption. Easy to understand that reference when we are just days away from the celebration of Thanksgiving. Typically, this is a day where we plan, in advance, to overindulge at mealtime, voice guilt about such activity, and then allow the self-fulfilling prophecy to occur. We give ourselves permission to ignore all the signposts of this activity and quite successfully rationalize that “It’s only one day”. No real issue here.

October 2014

Wit's End . . . notes from the principal

Feeling blessed. Blessing another. Which of these phrases resonated with you immediately? Some form of the word ‘bless’ is uttered innumerable times each and every day. The word is used to request, to implore, to provide, to thank, to bestow. It frequently invokes God as an intercessor, but can also be a communication shared person to person, regardless of age.

Consider a most common usage. There is an expression in most languages that suggests a blessing of sorts as the reply to one who has sneezed. The phrase, “God bless you” or “Bless you” is often attributed to Pope Gregory the Great in the sixth century. The bubonic plague had reached Rome and the Pope requested prayers be offered immediately to anyone who sneezed, as sneezing was considered a first sign or symptom of the plague to come. Certainly, many years later as this phrase became customary, it continued as a wish for intercession and improved health, sneezing still rightfully associated with a possible cold or allergy. Over time, many other superstitions evolved as explanation, including that a sneeze expelled the soul, or opened the body to invasion by evil spirits, or even that it marked a moment when the heart actually stopped beating. None of these have merit. Nice to know, however, that in some cultures a sneeze is believed to be a signal of good fortune to come. Take your pick. Whatever you consider the response to mean, I gladly accept anytime a blessing is thrown my way.