Education is heart-centered work, and I am grateful every day to serve Kent School. These past two months, however, have unearthed a stamina issue which quite surprised me. In our school we have literally gone from 0 to 60mph in about 10 seconds as we fill the calendar with our traditional springtime community events after two years of very limited in-person connection. It is wonderful to be together physically, but recently within one week, I found myself at two large events talking non-stop to hundreds of people leaving me with no voice, a sore throat, and limited energy.
While tea with honey has certainly helped, I think I need some time to rebuild my muscles of connection. I have not spoken before large crowds, held conversations with a hundred people, and shared the wonderful story of Kent School repeatedly at spring events since 2019. My post-COVID energy level is not the same as my pre-COVID energy level, and I never really thought that I would need to work up to doing the things I missed so much. I need to rediscover my muscle memory, defined as the ability to do a particular movement without conscious thought, due to frequent repetition. Practice is the only way I know to succeed.
I am currently reading Mastering Community: The Surprising Ways Coming Together Moves Us from Surviving to Thriving by Christine Porath. In the book, she describes our deep desire to feel a sense of belonging, although many of us feel isolated coming out of COVID. The use of technology and remote work have led people to feel disconnected. As our human interactions have decreased, so has our happiness, and this is contributing to a mental health crisis. Porath’s research suggests that through “uniting people and sharing information, creating a respectful environment, providing a sense of meaning, and boosting personal well-being, any one of us can help a community truly flourish.”
I believe this is my sole job this spring – uniting our school community in meaningful ways to help everyone thrive. While at the same time, rebuilding my own muscles for connection. Challenge accepted!