Count your blessings… Living your school values

This past week has been very emotionally tough for me as a school leader. I’ve realised much about myself, the community I serve and the world I live in. 

When thinking about our school values with my new staff and pupils last April, compassion was something that kept coming to the fore. This week, on a daily basis I found myself thinking about how compassionate am I? Do I really live this value? Am I a compassionate leader? 

Seeing the images a few nights ago of a child washed up on beach reminded me that I am a citizen of the world, who is allowing this to happen. I have a responsibility to act on their behalf for this injustice. I have three kids and I’ve struggled with how to show my compassion in a practical way. 

Several organisations have offered ways to help and I’ve followed their guidance. 

So this weekend, I’ve donated to Tearfund, signed a petition, wrote a letter and tomorrow I will gather up some things to take to a drop of point. I am by no means a self righteous person but I hope that it will ease my frustration that I am doing something to help my fellow man. 

Compassion can come in many forms as we care, empathise and sympathise with others.

In school, I have tried to show compassion on so many levels this week as I listened to the life stories of my pupils, parents and staff.

It has been heartbreaking to hear the real life trials and tribulations that some of them face. From parents with life threatening illnesses, to a staff member losing a loved one, to a family arriving afraid that they are going to be deported. 

As I’ve listened to them, looked into their eyes and saw pain – that I know, I have yet to fully experience, I realised that school values go beyond the plaque on the wall. They very much become ingrained on your heart. 

Being a compassionate leader is challenging at times. It’s been hard to leave the issues in the school office but it has been a wake up call to me to be thankful. I am healthy, I have a loving family, a job and a home. I am very fortunate. 
As I go forward, I hope that my school community can see this value in me and I hope, I encourage others to invoke it within themselves too. 

As you journey through this weekend be compassionate and count your blessings. We really have a lot to be thankful for. 

I’ve included a few links should you wish you do anything to help the refugee crisis.

http://www.tearfund.org/en/refugeecrisis/ – this charity works with local partners in many of the areas highlighted on the news. I know many others do too but this is one close to my heart. 

http://bit.ly/1fZGbVf – Belfast live has highlighted a number of places to drop items for those in crisis. 

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