MCSD Whiteboard: From the superintendent, thoughts on gratitude this thankful season |

MCSD Whiteboard: From the superintendent, thoughts on gratitude this thankful season

Jill Hafey
MCSD Whiteboard

What a fast-paced few months it’s been, Moffat County, since I first wrote to you from these pages as your superintendent. It’s hard to believe it’s been since July that I sat down to express my gratitude for the opportunity to lead this district. That gratitude hasn’t wavered a bit.

But it has been, shall we say, tested at times? This work is hard. It’s supposed to be. And that’s why I’m reminded, as much in this season of gratitude as ever, how critical it is to slow down, reset, recall why you started, and move forward with a thankful heart.

As this school year was getting started back in August, I asked you to do something for me, and I’m going to ask it of you again. I asked that you parents, grandparents and others who love our students take time to experience and appreciate each moment in your students’ lives. Each new milestone in a student’s life, I said then and I repeat now, is a chance to reflect, remember and rejuvenate.

I believe that so wholeheartedly. And I want to add two more activities to do as we rocket through yet another fast-paced school year. On top of reflection, remembrance and rejuvenation, will you also consider a reset and a return to thankfulness?

For me, this is powerful. We don’t stop and take a breath nearly enough. These days are hard — it’s always been hard, I’m afraid, and, God willing, it always will be on some level — but we have so, so much to be thankful for. When we stop keeping up with the rushing river of our lives, swim to the shore and take stock of where we are, we are sure to notice the beauty, the splendor, the magnificence of the lives we’re living. It’s hard to do with that reset.

We need that perspective. That zoom-out. That long view. When we don’t give ourselves that opportunity, if we just keep rushing along, thinking we’re getting stuff done, using every minute efficiently — sure, we’re doing. But we lose so much. In time, even the best of us will falter, will tire, will get distracted. If we really want to get where we’re trying to go, it pays to slow our speed at times — stop completely, even — and take stock of the journey in its entirety. It’s then that we’ll see why we’re doing what we’re doing, appreciate what we’ve already done and where we’ve already been, and understand that the journey is, in so many ways, the destination itself.

It has to be intentional. If not, by the end of the day, all we can remember is how hard the day was. How different is it if we can, at the end of a day, even a hard one, reflect on what was good, what was valuable, what was special. If we can’t be grateful for each step, then why are we moving at all?

It includes giving thanks to others, of course. Gratitude is for us, but appreciation is for them. Everyone likes to know they are appreciated, and giving thanks is perhaps the best way to make that happen. Be genuine with your gratitude, with your thank yous. Make sure people know. When I think about this district, there are so many things, even with 26 years here, that I didn’ realize were being done for me and for my students. The support each department gives us, the work being done at every level of this education operation — it staggers the mind. I’ve enjoyed having chances to give thanks to these sometimes hidden figures in the effort to raise up great children.

I’m blessed beyond words. Moffat County is a great place to be, I like to say, and I’ve had the blessing of being here for quite a while now. Truly, all of us are showered with blessings uncountable, even those who are in the hardest of circumstances or who have passed through great suffering. Stop. Close your eyes. Breathe. And, when you open your eyes, find one thing to be thankful for. This practice, or some version of achieving the same ends, I have found, is the key to a joyful life.

Thank you, Craig and Moffat County. Thank you for trusting me and for trusting this school district. I am so thankful to be here working alongside you and these wonderful educators in this district. I am so thankful for the opportunity we have to teach your kids.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Jill Hafey
Moffat County School District/Courtesy photo

Jill Hafey is the superintendent of Moffat County School District.

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