Anyone who knows me even a little bit will be able to tell you that I love music. And I love lyrics. Both talk to me in a way that most things don’t. And when I grow up I want to be a rock star. I’ve been waiting to grow up for a very long time now, and while I wait I do this thing called Principalship!
Last week David eloquently talked about “A Sense of Waiting”. The phenomenon that we all currently find ourselves in during this time of Covid. As David wrote; “we are stuck and with that comes a real sense of waiting. Those with major disruption gripping their schools are waiting for it to be over. Those who haven’t reached that stage yet are waiting for it to start.”
This sense of waiting has an adverse affect on us all. It is easy to feel that we are stuck, and it’s not too far a jump to worry that we might be stuck forever. No wonder we feel anxious.
Before David’s piece last week, there was Danny Nichol’s also excellent “Doing the unstuck” . Provocatively Danny asked “What can you do today to shift from reaction mode to action mode?”
If I walk around my school, Covid waves lapping at our shores, I don’t see a lot of evidence from my tamariki that they are in wait mode. Yes things have been canceled or postponed, and everyone’s had their fair share of disappointment, but on the whole our students aren’t moping around waiting for a time when things are different. They are here, and they are now.
As an adult, and as a leader there’s an awful lot to learn from that.
We can’t avoid the threat of Covid, or the impact and timing of change and the challenges that that brings. But we can avoid the sense of waiting and enjoy the now, right now.
When I was a kid, I spent time looking forward to two key dates a year. My birthday and Christmas day. The night before both were often sleepless nights of anticipation and excitement! I was in full on wait mode. Maybe we can learn from this too – these were great reasons to have sleepless nights! Covid isn’t a great reason to lose sleep over, or to waste our lives by waiting. Life goes on, make the most of what we have, now.
As an aside, possibly the only reason that our kids in our schools are now having sleepless nights is because we (us adults I mean) are projecting our worries onto them. Yes, our children should be up to speed with what Covid all means, but it doesn’t need to be coloured in our own language of anxiety like hues.
After you’ve read this I want you to go out and walk around your school. Walk around it in the now. Watch your kids out in the playground. Watch how they play and how they interact with each other. Enjoy their squeals and laughter. Enjoy their mini triumphs and also their mini setbacks. They are all examples of in the now, and of little human beings, actually being without the weight of anything but their current moment on their hands. There’s beauty there. It’s not hard to find, it’s not hard to see.
We need to do way more of this, because out of these moments you get an appreciation for where you are right now, and suddenly you don’t have to be waiting for anything.
So back to my music. I started this piece talking about music and lyrics. Well, a couple of weeks ago a New Zealand music legend called Don McGlashan (he wrote Dominion Road with the Mutton birds, and There is No Depression in NZ (with Blam Blam Blam) released his latest album.
Don is famous not only for his beautiful music but also his amazing lyrics that somehow make routine always seem incredible.
On his latest album there is a song called “Now’s the Place” and he sings these lyrics. They seem particularly relevant right here and right now:
So this is now?
Well that depends
Cos what is now
Turns into then
And a brand new now
Comes right a long
And then you blink and then it’s gone
But all those nows have brought us here
They could have dropped down from anywhere
But here we are, right where we should be
Now is a place for you and me