Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A True Friend

Throughout my lifetime, I have had the privilege  (dang, I had to spell check that word) of living in many different places and locations.  I grew up in a small town of 5,000 in Northern California and then moved to a "huge city" in Southern California where my high school was almost the size of my small sleepy hometown. I went to college on the Central Coast of CA and then moved to Alabama for a few years.  Each of these towns and cities has its own special place in my heart.  Something I have always loved about moving around is what a move does to relationships and friendships. New relationships. Old relationships. Confusing relationships. Hard relationships. Special relationships. Savored relationships.   

Today, on my drive home, I reflected on a relationship.  Specifically, I reflected on my friendship with Jenny.  Jenny and I used to teach together.  She and I have had great friend chemistry for years.  We have laughed together, we have cried together. We have volunteered together and traveled together. We have agreed on many things and we have disagreed on others. Jenny and I get vulnerable with each other. Sometimes, it can be intense.  The reason I was reflecting on my friendship with Jenny is that today, she spent the day at Penngrove with me.  She has the week "off" for Ski Week and she decided to take a day of her vacation to get down in the trenches with me at my school.  Knowing that Jenny has her admin credential, I was particularly excited to have her perspective and "lens" on campus for the day.

Jenny observed our weekly assembly (shoot, we forgot to debrief about that Derb!), she visited 14 classrooms with me, she checked student work during 3rd grade spelling, she encouraged some of our fragile students, and she even spent 30 minutes counseling and talking with a kindergartner who made a really "bad choice" so that I could finish the weekly school newsletter.  On top of that, Jenny spent time chatting and connecting with many of my staff members whom she had met previously at conferences or school events.  Jenny took notes for me as we walked from room to room about campus improvement projects I want to pursue.  All along the way, she shared feedback with me that will make me a better leader.  At times Jenny was encouraging, at times she was harsh. You can't get that kind of feedback from just anyone. It's a gift.

As I pulled into the driveway this evening, I got a call from Jenny who was just checking in. "I wish I could have done more to help you today," she said.  I sat there stunned.  Thinking. Just reflecting on how lucky I am to have a such a friend.  If you ever find yourself surrounded by a person or a group of people that "get you" both personally and professionally, savor every second of it.  Jenny reminds me of what it means to Give. Risk. Learn. Trust. That kind of relationship is a gift. That kind of a relationship is real. 

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