Certain profession have their "crunch times"; accountants feel the pressure every spring and they are no strangers to long days. Teachers and school administrators are also professionals that face this "crunch time". As summer holidays approach the to-do list gets a little longer with the deadlines becoming non-negotiable. Things like final assessments, graduation, sorting out credits, staffing, maintenance, year end trips, forward planning, and reporting to various stakeholders are things that must get crossed off the list.
With all of these commitments a person can lose focus on the most important things in their life; their mental and physical health and their family relations.
As I was organizing my final two months of the school year my wife made sure there was one day that stood out as another non-negotiable. A "must do" that had nothing to do with my school. That day was today. It was my son's class play. The play was a short production called The Little Red Hen and my son did not have a huge role, he was one of the cows in the choir. His mom made sure his mask was just perfect, we made sure he had the clothes he needed for the part and ensured he got a good sleep the night before. While all of that was important, nothing mattered as much as our presence at that play. My wife and I got our seats and waited for the kids to file in, sitting among all the other camera wielding parents and grandparents. As the kids walked in I saw my son, and he walked into the gym just like any other grade 2 boy who had to sing a bunch of farm songs in front of a throng of strangers. His shoulders were slightly slumped and his face wore an expression that said, "I'd rather be riding my bike or playing with my buddies". All of this changed when he spotted his mom and dad. He shot up straight, a smile stretched from ear to ear and he waved as hard as he could. My wife and I could not resist being one of "those parents" waving back like our son just returned from 8 months at sea. The performance was far from Tony worthy, but that was not important. For thirty minutes I sat and watched the kids act out the story of a little red hen who just wanted a little help baking some bread while the steely-eyed fox was looking for the opportunity to swipe the loaf. For those thirty minutes everything on that to-do list disappeared from my mind and my focus was on my boy.
These are the important parts, the moments a person can miss, saying, "I'll catch the next one, the timing is just wrong for this one". If you have kids, take the time stay involved. If you are a leader and have people working for you and you know they have young children, encourage them to stay involved. After all, taking time away from that list of demands might just be enough to recharge a person's batteries and help them finish up "crunch-time" on a high.
As always, comments are welcome :)