Just a blurb to say that even though I was at my lowest last time I wrote, things have gotten better.
It started with a simple act of kindness.
A Muslim school south of us saw us selling desks, and we sold them to them for next-to-nothing and threw in lockers, some bulletin board sets we weren’t using, and a die cut machine we haven’t used in a while, but works great. I have a good friend who is Muslim and she’s told me about how as bad as it gets in Catholic schools, she knows it’s worse for them. They don’t have a diocese to help them, and they don’t have a large network of Catholic schools to support them the way we do.
When we focus on how we used to have it better (legions of sisters and brothers to teach and entire textbook companies dedicated to us), it’s hard to remember that heck, we’ve got it pretty good, as church-run schools go.
Anyway, we got rid of the lockers which are more useful for a bigger school with more ages represented and the desks as well. My students need room to move and this will help with that goal.
This movement-of-things caused the former “boss of all things” to lose her temper. We got rid of things without consulting her. And what’s more? We didn’t just ditch them for scrap? She was livid because she believes the school and everything in it belongs to her and what SHE would do is all that matters.
But in leadership, we can’t focus on what we have to lose; rather, we have to focus on what we have to gain.
We’ve managed to get rid of most of the toxicity about the campus and it feels much happier this year than last year and it involved, in some cases, making some hard choices and hurting some feelings.
I had a student tell me she’s been going around telling people we’re closing and to not put their kids in our school.
She wants us to go.
But then, we met with other parishioners who want us to stay. They want to step up and help. We talked about alternative ways to use the building and a need for a commitment of two more years to know if we’re really growing or not.
In other words, we need a chance to succeed.
And they were eager to help.
We have parishioners willing to help us reinvent the former “boss’s” other fundraiser and make it more lively as well as more profitable.
We DO want to change. We want to grow.
And we are not alone.
We have hope.
I really think that doing the right thing and helping out another religious school helped to recenter things and get us back on track.
We will get past this, and we will grow.
Because we have everything to gain by getting rid of this toxic fundraiser and instead replacing it with something new and positive.
We do not have to be paralyzed by fear.
And we will grow again.
But there will be an important decision to be made, to deal with the barrier that needs to be removed.