Just one more lesson in my journey toward average
Our district administration offices moved from its “old elementary school” location to brand new digs in a dedicated wing connected to our high school.
And today actually will be the first official work day in our new surroundings.
Fortunately, the cast of characters around me remains the same.
I don’t think I’d adjust quickly to a totally new space if it came along with totally new people as well.
We’ve got enough to do to keep from bumping into each other and also work through the unwritten rules for our “unisex” bathrooms.
Although my superintendent and facilities director planned our move with D-Day type precision, there were still a number of decisions we had to resolve within our own departments, as you might suspect.
And dang, as a one person office, I probably made this more of an ordeal than it had to be.
For example, I’ve maintained hundreds of files in six large filing cabinets over the years.
Like a knucklehead, I was bound and determined to go through every file.
I can’t believe how irrelevant and useless my notes about crisis management (Y2K), prior school closures and restructurings, old legislative proposals, and the annual litany of changes made in our State’s standardized testing process now seem.
These school-related issues and topics were such big deals before… and now?
They’re just more line items on my “pack up or recycle” checklist.
For nearly two decades, our district’s art teachers have selected “the best of the best” of their students’ art for that school year, and then our superintendent would have the 11-13 pieces each professionally framed and attractively displayed in the main admin hallway for the public to admire until the next year’s batch of student art award-winners would take their place.
The yearly process of “down with the old and up with the new” always seemed to go well, although we often could not determine the where-abouts of one or two of our past art award winners and we were unable to return their pieces to them.
So, into a storage room a few doors down from my office the student artwork would go for safe-keeping until the student and his or her family would come in to claim later.
And since this is what we’ve been doing for 20 years, I possessed about 25 pieces of art I needed to return speedy-kwik before our move out of the building.
How in the world was I going to be able to locate these former students when all of my other attempts to reach them came up empty?
And what a helper mom Molly turned out to be!
With her previous social work training, she is tracking down former art winners, parents, and relatives like she’s auditioning to replace “Dog, the Bounty Hunter” on TV.
She’s whittled down our stash of student artwork to a mere handful.
Now here’s where I made my mistake as I focused (like a laser, of course!) on sorting through my stupid files and lugging my collections of “can’t work without” essentials over to my new office.
As people would come in and meet with Molly to pick up their child’s artwork (some now more than 10 years old), you would not believe the brief stories they tell her.
“Oh, I can’t believe you got hold of me. My son is now in his 20’s and he’s battling cancer. This art will mean so much.”
“Thanks for getting this to me. My daughter is now in the Marines. She’s gonna love seeing this during the holidays.”
“No, this is not my son’s artwork. I made this years ago! I’m grown up now and I can’t wait to show this to my wife.”
And the stories haven’t stopped.
With every piece of artwork that Molly has returned, she’s heard emotional stories that almost border on the joyous.
And I’m ashamed to admit I missed out on most of them.
These mini-moments of 100% awesome school news were predictable.
I should’ve been there with my notepad, pen, and camera.
But once I locate where these essential tools are boxed up, I’ll get with it.
That’s what second chances are for.