Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I THOUGHT about writing yesterday.... If I had, here is what I would have written.

Today as I was going through books and moving into my new room, I came across a book I purchased some time ago, 365 Tao by Deng Ming-Dao. Over the last year, I have pondered whether I believe in fate at all. Are coincidences truly just chance, or is there something about our interconnected spirits that brings events to fruition and just the right time? Regardless, the fact that I picked up this book today was timely and appropriate if nothing else.

I read the introduction, well, OK, I skimmed the introduction, then moved on to read the first meditation. And it said this:


This is the moment of embarking.
All auspicious signs are in place.

Now, as I said, I am not sure I'm looking for signs at this point in my life, but a new beginning it is, and I love the idea of it being an auspicious beginning, a point of embarking. For there really is no where to look, but forward.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Clarifying: The Audience

The motivation for writing this has a lot to do with my potential audience. I am keeping three groups in mind as I tweak my focus.

First, I think of parents of middle and high school students. Many of us are embarking on secondary schools for the first time since we were there. For some, that school experience was not all that pleasant. For others, language or social barriers can make the school system feel unfamiliar and even, at times, intimidating. I would like to open the dialogue around this in order to make secondary schools more accessible.

Second, I think of the students, including my own children. Sometimes we have less influence in their lives than we could. There are things I could say to my kids but that they cannot always hear or understand. I hope this method of gathering my thoughts will become a resource for all youth working with adults -- teachers, parents, and so on.

Third, I think of other working moms who want the best of both worlds: the home and the career. I certainly have some success stories to share in this area, but more importantly I want to learn from others. Most of my close friends in school leadership do not have children, or they are already grown. It can be a lonely world, and I am hopeful that this will bring us closer to friendship and happiness.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Given that Easter is a time of rebirth and renewal, I thought it prudent to start my blogging experience today. As I write this, my daughter is sleeping beside me. She is eight years old, and it is not typical that she would nap in the middle of the day, but the rattle in her nose and the labored breathing tell me she is resting her body and on the brink of a spring cold. My son, almost 11, is frantically searching the house for his lost DS. A year ago, he decided he didn't like his DS anymore. Now, however, he found a game of interest and is somewhat surprised that he (1) can't find it and (2) can't get anyone else in the family to help him!

But the real reason I am here is this. For the past seven months, I have made a commitment to being happy. Before my mother died, she reminded me often to "lighten up". You see, I have a tendency to take myself a bit too seriously at times. Somewhere around August, with a new school year approaching -- the 18th of my career -- I decided that I needed to listen to that ghostly whisper bouncing around in my head. Lighten up!

At the beginning of this school year, I set myself some specific goals: spend more time with my own kids, smile more, get back in physical shape, attend to an appropriate level of stress and recovery (physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually). To my amazement, it worked. I lost 20 pounds without doing much other than walking more and eating less. I made new friends regularly. I had more time to spend with my own kids doing things we enjoy together --reading, movies, hiking, swimming, playing games. There was only one problem.

My marriage.

But before I go into that, I must explain the title of this blog. "Other people's children". I spend about 50 hours a week, give or take, spending quality time with other people's children, ages 11 - 18. I love being a school principal. I love working with kids. Somewhere a few years ago, though, I started to worry that I was better at being a principal than a mom. This blog is my attempt both to share my experiences at attempting to strike the PERFECT balance as a working mom, and also to elicit your feedback because I know you have stories to tell. Everyone has a story.

I just hope you find mine worth reading.

So, for today, I simply invite anyone who happens to stumble across this simple blog to share with me your answer to this question:

What have you always wanted to ask a middle school/high school principal but been afraid to ask?