Bucket Brigade

It’s that time of year when many people head south (or west) for warmer climates. Father Winter has worn out his welcome and many of us are counting down to Spring! It’s also that highly anticipated time in the school year, Spring Break! I have friends who are either currently in Florida or who have just been there or are heading there soon. Others are on their way to Mexico or somewhere in the Caribbean. It’s a gift to be able to travel again and to be someplace warm and by the water. If you are anything like me, those elements, sun and water, can be so rejuvenating and healing. (Plus, it doesn’t hurt to unplug either).

I love being near water! It does something to my soul. Sitting beside the ocean as the waves come crashing in, seeing the sun glistening, and reflecting off of it and onto the sand. There is nothing like it in my book. But I’m also just as happy being near a lake, which is one of the many things I love about Michigan in the summer is having access to so many of them. The calm stillness of those bodies of water also brings joy and peace. (I have seen waves at some of our lakes here too).

There is something healing about water. Just google “healing power of water” and you will see over 226,000 results. There are numerous books about the subject. It seems so simple and obvious, doesn’t it? I think about how often I may have a headache because I haven’t had enough water. Or I’ll offer that as a remedy to my children if they are complaining of an ailment “You probably need some water”. And often times, that is the solution. I don’t even want to think about all of the plastic bottles we go through drinking water. (I did just purchase a Brita pitcher so we can do our part by not buying any more water bottles).

I was in a meeting last week when an evaluator used an analogy around professional development and administrators imparting knowledge to their staff who then in turn impart it to their students. She said that administrators are the well of water, teachers then fill their pitchers to then fill the students’ cups. People on the call liked that image. Although one administrator said, “where does our source of water come from? Where is our ground source?” I thought it was a great question! And it made me think about self-care, as I frequently say during my workshops, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. We all know that administrators can make or break the environment in a school. They are important in filling others pitchers or cups or whatever receptacle you’re holding. But who is providing for their reservoir? Everyone needs their reserves replenished.

It conjures up the memory of Mickey Mouse in Fantasia with the broom bucket brigade. There were so many brooms carrying buckets of water that it overflowed. We don’t necessarily need flooding (or out of control brooms?) but how can we all carry water for each other. Or think about the images of women in various cultures that carry water for their community in buckets on their heads. Can we do that for one another? Can we form our own bucket brigade, so we have enough water to go around? Especially because there are so many fires to put out, as we’ve discussed in a previous blog.

This week as I continue my consultation with administrators in a local county, that will be my focus. During our fireside chat we will talk about ways to ensure they have their ground source first, so their supply is replenished. Then we can turn to help fill other’s pitchers to then turn to fill other’s cups. While also realizing that it is ok to take a break and/or tag team in the relay. Collectively, we can carry water for each other. Doesn’t that sound powerful and healing?

Also, enjoy your Spring Break! Use that time whether you are close to water or not to rest, relax and refresh. You’ve earned it!