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an open letter to my sons' elementary school principal

here's the thing...i feel like the world needs more affirmation and encouragement.  the world needs more positivity, more joy, more love.  and while i can't change "the world," i can change the way i act and the things i do.  so i have decided to start telling people how awesome they are.  and i think it is important to do some of that in a public way.  so, here is a (slightly edited) letter i sent to our sons' elementary school principal.  he is awesome.  i hope it inspires you to tell someone how awesome they are, too.  and be awesome, yourself. 

Mr. Feldman,

I wanted to send you a quick note just to offer some affirmation, gratitude, and maybe even encouragement.  I believe that SCASD is a great school district, but I also know that being in public education can be a tough gig these days.  I admire teachers and administrators, especially when they do their job as a vocation, with passion and conviction.  This I see in you.  I will name three things I have personally witnessed in you, and which I am grateful for. 

1.  Your playfulness.  I saw this again at the picnic on Wednesday as you thumb-wrestled a student who was clearly so happy to get to play with his principal.  I have also seen it at events and at morning drop-off.  I think play is an underrated activity, especially when it involves adults and children together.  Thanks for doing your part to make a culture of playfulness, where school and learning are fun for kids and adults. 
2. Your passion.  I have heard you speak to parents and students; I have watched you at events; I have received written communication from you, and I have heard my boys talk about you.  All of these have revealed the same foundational reality: you care about what you are doing.  As I mentioned above, it appears to me that this is more vocation than job for you. A vocation carries with it the idea of being called. Whatever you may believe about a higher being doing the calling, I think that there can be no argument that you are indeed called to this kind of work, and it shows. 
3. Finally, and this may be most important, is your presence.  You show up.  Mr. Feldman, in our world today kids seem to have fewer and fewer people willing to show up for them.  I know you must have other things to do in your life, but I want you to know that this parent is so grateful for the way you show up consistently at concerts and fairs and picnics and everything else. When you could use your office as an escape, you have instead made the whole school your office, and the effects of that are beyond measurement. 

I mentioned earlier that I believe this is a great school district.  Well, sir I hope you know that it is great in part because of you and your commitment to the students in your care.  I just wanted you to know that it is noticed and deeply appreciated.  Keep up the great work. 



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