This past Friday, I received a panic phone call from my mother telling me that my father currently having emergency surgery to save his life. She did not know a lot of details and was very confused. You need to understand that my mother is Japanese and speaks English well, but when she is stressed her ability to comprehend English diminishes greatly. I told my mother I would pick her up and we would go to the hospital right away.
I informed by Assistant Principal that I had to leave right away, and explained quickly what was happening to my father. As you can imagine, she was very supportive and helped close our school for the weekend.
A few hours later, my father came through his surgery well. He will spend a few weeks at home recovering, but he is expected to make a full recovery. While I am very grateful that my father is on the road to recovery, what touched my heart the most was the response I received from my school family.
I sent an email explaining my father’s situation and told the faculty and staff that if they needed me to call my cell phone. I shared that my schedule was going to be very unpredictable as I will need to take care of my aging parents. So many people responded by email and text messages genuinely offering assistance and placing my father and my family on various prayer chains.
My Director of Elementary Education sent an email to all my principal colleagues sharing the news about my father and I received so many responses from my principal friends as well. My Director assured me that she was willing to help wherever and however was needed.
My Superintendent, made a visit to the hospital the next morning to check on my father and called me personally to make sure if I had any needs he could assist. You need to know that my Superintendent does this for all employees. He makes hospital visits, attends funerals, as well as special events at schools, and various academic, sports competition, art shows, and performances.
I am so Blessed to work in a school and district that people reach out in everyone’s time of need to pitch in and help. It was different for me to receive this out pouring of support and love. Usually, I am the one making hospital visits, phone calls, prayers, and sending hand written notes and cards. This weekend, I was the one in need and the very people I spend each day joyfully serving, did these things for me. Writing about this experience still brings tears to my eyes.
My Superintendent has build his leadership on the premise of Servant Leadership and has created and lived out a vision for our district: To be a place where students want to learn, parents want to send their children, teachers want to teach, and employees want to work.
My loyalty and appreciation for the people in my school and district will forever be strong. I am grateful to serve in a school and district that not only can recite our district’s vision; but also truly live it out.
Never underestimate the difference a kind word, expression of appreciation, a brief visit, a simple phone call can make for people in their time of need. James C. Penney has stated, “It is the service we are not obligated to give that people value the most.”
I love what I do and with whom I serve, but after this weekend, I am even more committed to serve and share the love we have for people.