Monday, February 3, 2014

Lessons From Loss

In life, there is loss. In loss, there are lessons. Perhaps at the time, unpleasant or unknown, but lessons nonetheless.
Over the last 12 months, I have experienced my first major tragedy as a school administrator as well as watching colleagues, community and family members experience the loss of a loved one. Some of which I have known well; others, not so much. But all have left an impression on me to the point where I want to put it on paper and share it with you. My hope is that like me, these lessons will provide a reminder of what is important in life, and allow you to share these with our children.
Maximize Each Day: Just about a year ago, the Williamsport community lost Ryan and Karen English in a tragic, senseless auto accident. While our community still mourns their loss, we can certainly honor them and their three beautiful children by doing the most good, every day. Ryan and Karen would want it that way.
Instill a Sense of Service: In November, our nation and community lost a leader: Gen. Fred Marty, former com- manding general of Fort Sill, Okla., and a man dedicated to serving our country. While his presence has passed, his legacy will remain intact through his children and grandchildren, all of whom serve our schools and commu- nity in a multitude of ways. It is also a premise inscribed and embodied in our daily activities as we expect our children to enter to learn and go forth to serve.
Laugh, A Lot: Nothing kills the buzz of Christmas joy like bad news. I received such news late last year when I received an e-mail that my mother and father’s friend of 40+ years “Smitty” died. As I called my always stoic father to check in, I got the predictable “I am fine” but I knew better. This was confirmed by his written tribute to “Smitty” published in the Bloomsburg newspaper the next day. I took two things out of Smitty’s passing. The first, if the police chief in a college town can find a way to laugh, and laugh he did, each day, then we can, too. The second, a sense of connectedness to my own father to find, like him, I tend to express my emotions through the written word. Which made me wonder, what will I pass on to my children? Hope this does the same for you.
Simple Things Bring the Most Joy: Recently, a colleague of mine and his wife lost their son. As parents, I think you would agree that there is nothing we fear more than having to find the strength to endure the loss of our child. Still, these two individuals endured their sorrows to share lessons learned from their son. One of those lessons I am now sharing with you: True joy in life is not found in material items, they are found in smiles on the sand and the surf, street-side at a Fourth of July parade or just unplugging from our daily grind and connecting with our loved ones.
In closing, I ask you to join me and live a life that honors the memories of those we have lost, both, in our family and our community.
Mr. Michaels

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