Dear Evan Hansen recently arrived in San Francisco and wow...just wow. Was fortunate to see it last night with friends and it was as good as I expected. Maybe better.
Having listened to the soundtrack for the last year or so meant I was singing along (quietly) to a performance where I didn't really know the story line. Sure, the lyrics helped with my insights, but the real message was about a number of someones who, during the course of the two acts, emerged as souls feeling alone. And sometimes lost.
I get lost. Sometimes in leadership we can feel that way. Leading can be lonely and if we're at a site where its just us, like an elementary school, or in other positions where we can lack readily available thought partners, its not so easy.
But Dear Evan Hansen was about alone in a very different way. There was a sense of mental illness in it with the character of Conner Murphy who had been very angry for a very long time and his family's lack of being able to support and affect his behavior. He felt very lost. And alone.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that the show made me think....
- about the students who feel alone in our classrooms, especially those who seem like they don't naturally fit in
- about the parents, especially the single ones out there, trying their best to parent and connect and, in an area like the very expensive Silicon Valley, figuring out how to make ends meet with one or two or even three jobs
- about the teachers and classified staff who give all of themselves every single day, often at the expense of their own families and health
- about the administrators who often take their work home with them, waking in the middle of the night trying to figure out how to figure it all out, because heaven knows this job doesn't come with a user's manual
At work, let's face it. Feeling alone is feeling alone. And at this holiday time of the year, it can manifest itself so many ways and feel ever so heavy.
My challenge to you this week is to hone your skills of hearing and seeing and sensing. Look out for those signs that may let you know someone needs help. Support. A smile. A hug. A kind word.
And then look around a little further. Are there those in your school or district who are just a little more quiet? A little distant? What can you do to reach out in a different way and let them know that you care? Is there a perspective that you can use to better see others and help them
We all need to be reminded - we are not alone.
* Read it.
Take a look at this blog article about making friends as an adult. Not as easy as it seems, especially when you think about loneliness and connections. It really goes into depth, with many hyperlinks, so you can explore as much as you want to.
Take a look and read it HERE.
* Watch It.
Check out this video by Brian Miller on Ted Talks. He's a magician and for him, its about illusions. Illusions and magic can help us....well...magically connect with others.
This will be 14 minutes out of your life, but worth it. More than 3 million viewers have checked it out. That says something....
* Share it.
Can you print these and share them? Notes to colleagues on key topics like knowing they are cared for and that you and others are there. Yes, it can make a difference. Print in color on cardstock …. practically free! Here are a couple to consider…. and to give frequently. It’s up to us to remind others that struggles happen to all of us, but through it all, we are not alone. We just need to remind others of that.
Now go slay yet another week!