Gander

I was working on ideas for a different blog yesterday when I saw Come from Away, the musical currently showing at The Orpheum. It was a surprise, a last minute invitation from a friend. Movies and musicals are my thing. I see them; I know them. But I had not even heard of Come from Away.

I learned just a few things before the show. I learned it was about Gander, Newfoundland; I learned it was about 167 planes that landed there on 9/11 when the airspace in the US was closed; I learned it was about the almost 7000 people forced to stay there for days and days and the people from Gander who cared for them.

I was worried it would be sad, and of course there were moments of sadness. But mostly it was an inspiration and a reminder that in the midst of the most horrific tragedies in our history, there were people and communities and nations supporting each other.

The arts have a way of telling our stories like few other things can. This one is a story worth telling. The show was one of those communal experiences that touches everyone and makes us one for the night.

After the show, cast members explained that when you tell this story over and over, it becomes part of who you are. As the cast and crew arrived in Nebraska, they were moved to help us. Producers are donating $1 from each ticket sold to flood relief, and Omaha Performing Arts and Broadway Across America are matching it.

The world is a good place filled with people and communities and nations willing to be there for those who need it.

Tom Brokaw told this story beautifully, and Come from Away is based on his report. I’ve linked it below. It’s a story worth watching.

Tom Brokaw 9/11 Operation Yellow Ribbon

Nurture the Relationship

Every interaction you have matters!  Every interaction you have builds or damages the relationship.

Schools have not traditionally thought of themselves as organizations with customers or brands.  But of course we are.  Today more than ever we are the topic of conversation in the neighborhood, on Facebook, on Twitter.  Our students, our staff, our parents, and our community have a broad platform from which to share their experiences in our schools.  We are telling our stories, and they are telling our stories.

Each time we answer the phone or greet someone at the door of our school, we make an impression.  Each time we say hello in the drop-off lane or greet a student by name in the hallway, we make an impression.  We nurture the relationship, or we damage the relationship.

We know that we are able to do more positive things for our students when we have positive relationships with them.  The same is true for our staff and for our families.  Are we focusing enough on building those relationships?

It’s a busy time.  As we roll into October, it gets even busier.  Fall sports are in full swing.  Parent teacher conferences are right around the corner.  The end of the quarter means assessment and grading and report cards.  It can get overwhelming.

I know that for me, the busier I get, the more likely I am to rush my interactions with people.  I get focused on my tasks and forget my relationships.  I am setting a goal for October to stay focused on people, to nurture the relationship in all of my interactions.  I hope you’ll join me.

Community

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It was a heartbreaking loss after a great game!  The Patriots shot three pointers like they’ve done all season.  The Hawks hit free throw after free throw. It was a sight to see.  Overtime.  How state titles should be earned!  …if only it had ended in our favor.

But today is a new day.  Today Millard South and Lincoln Southwest are once again a part of the same community, a community of athletes, of high school students, of Nebraskans. What unites them is once again stronger than what divides them.  That is always the case!

Community was proudly on display last night.

Brothers and sisters and parents and grandparents holding signs and waving pictures of their players. Family.

Cheerleaders and band members and dance teams and amazing student sections cheering on their players. School.

Guards, forwards, coaches, trainers. Team.

On both sides!

There is power in community.  There is energy and enthusiasm in community.  You could feel it in the arena.  Many voices became one. What no single person could accomplish can often be done with ease when people come together.  “Many hands make light work.”

Communities working together can do amazing things!  Imagine if those families, those teams, those schools worked together.  Imagine what they could do.  Last week I saw communities working together to clean up after tornadoes in Illinois and Missouri.  This year we have already seen communities rally together after fires and floods and blizzards.

Imagine what we could do if our communities came together for a common purpose.  Could we ensure all students have access to a quality education?  Could we guarantee care for the elderly?  End hunger?  End homelessness?  Could we see to it that every single person feels a sense of belonging, of love?

Families, teams, schools know that there is power in community.  If only we could extend that to the community of humankind.

img_4128One community walked away last night happy with the result, the other wishing the outcome had been different. But both walked away with a sense a pride, proud of what they had accomplished together through the season, proud of what can be done when we unite.