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December 11, 2017 11:43 pm

Leading with Compassion

Much of the western world is reeling from the news, if not the actual impact, of all the recent natural and weather disasters.  Hurricanes, flooding, fires, earthquakes–we can understand why many of us experience compassion fatigue.  Even the most caring adults struggle to feel afresh our concern for those affected when every day seems to bring a new report.

An important part of what we do at school is to attempt to see the world through children’s eyes.  They’re unlikely to feel that same compassion fatigue.  Most of them hear the news, if at all, with no historic context and just in headlines and pictures.  That steady onslaught of disasters can be scary and overwhelming.  Certainly that’s true for many adults.

For our school community, and especially for us as a Leader In Me school, we’re always trying to put the right lens on what our children see.  An example is our response to Hurricane Harvey.  In consultation with our Student Lighthouse Team, we had a student leader announce a fund-raising effort on our Morning Broadcast. With encouragement from classroom teachers and just a few more mentions on Broadcast, our students and families quickly raised over $2000.  In a joint effort with the other Westfield elementary schools, the total sent to the American Red Cross exceeded $10,000.

One of my favorite quotes (it comes in different versions), is, “Just because you can’t do everything doesn’t mean you should do nothing.”  We believe that’s a crucial leadership lesson for our students–and ourselves–to learn.  The response to Hurricane Harvey relief gives evidence that all of us together can do so much.  Don’t we want all of our children to know and understand that.

 

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