To kick off our virtual chapel talk series, Interim Head of School Julie Salit invites the Tabor community to BELIEVE. Check out the talk below or use this link to watch the presentation.
Welcome to our first Wednesday advisory chapel! I am honored to be here with you all today. I’m Mrs. Salit, Interim Head of School, biology teacher at heart, soccer enthusiast and mom.
Two years ago after I read Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up I went on a roll to get everything organized in my house. One day I found myself at Home Goods purchasing a chalkboard, on which I was going to commit to writing my family’s chores week-to-week. Week one came and went, and well, let’s just say, the weekly chores got carried over into week 2. And then week 3. And week 4. It was not working. And I lost faith that any chore written on the board would ever really be completed. Rather than get frustrated reading the chores unchecked every time I entered the kitchen, I decided to erase it and shift to plan B.
The chalkboard is now a place to share my thoughts.
My soccer girls will recall that for an entire year, it said something like Crush Thayer.
Last spring it became a place of inspiration… A “we got this!” An “in a world where you can be anything you want, you must be kind.” A “live to love and love to live.” etc. etc.
As we begin this new year, I thought, well, it’s time for something new. So, here we go.
B Be your authentic self
Today we come together in this sacred space known as chapel. It is a time for reflection and thought, a time to pause during our day and a time to just be you. I do hope that you will bring your authentic self to advisory time, and, really, to all you do here on campus. You matter. The real you matters. The you that contains all the accomplishments, celebrations, and talents. But also the you that is full of foibles and flaws. The you that will stumble this year, make mistakes, learn lessons, and move forward. The you that will grow and transform into the next you. Share your story. Be willing to listen to one another and develop meaningful relationships this year and beyond. Be your authentic self.
E Engage with your peers and classmates
There is ample opportunity for you to engage in conversations—lighthearted discussions as well as deep and sometimes difficult ones too. Start the conversation. Be that Seawolf who looks people in the eyes as you walk the halls. Smile—you can see it in your eyes even behind a mask. Be that Seawolf who genuinely asks How are you today?, and then waits for a response. Be that Seawolf who tries new things, and encourages others to do the same. Be that Seawolf who sees someone lost or hurting or in need and holds the door, shares a smile, or invites them to join their group of friends at dinner—physically distanced of course. Engage with your peers and classmates.
L Listen and Learn
Because that’s what we’re here to do. And apologies to your classroom teachers, but I am not just talking about science, history and math. Of course, we need to listen in on calls and learn those things. But I challenge you to go deeper. Learn about your school, it’s history, it’s community. Really listen to what others are saying. Learn about your roommate, that boy sitting next to you in math and that girl who has the same lunch block as you. Learn a new sport, a new technique in art, a new skill, a new hobby. Listen to what’s going on across our country and our world—all that is happening beyond life at Tabor. Stay connected to your family and friends from home too. And call home not only during the times when things just are not going as planned, but also at those times when everything is humming along—and well. And take the time to listen to your parents…they miss you and will always have your best interests in mind. Listen and learn.
I Inspire and include others
Do what makes you oh so happy, and inspire others to do the same. Wow them in class, be a good role model, cheer others on to give it their all. I have searched for my own inspiration throughout these past months, and just when I was beginning to lose hope, a friend of mine sent me these words by Leslie Dwight. I shared this with the faculty last week, and I hope it will continue to inspire all of us. It goes like this:
What if 2020 isn’t cancelled?
What if 2020 is the year we’ve been waiting for?
A year so uncomfortable, so painful, so scary, so raw --
that it finally forces us to grow.
A year that screams so loud, finally awakening us from our slumber.
A year we accept the need for change.
Declare change. Work for change. Become the change.
A year we finally band together and make 2020 the most important year of all.
Inspire and include others.
E Empathize with others
Empathy—the ability to understand and share in the feelings of others. The ability to walk in someone else’s shoes, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions. This year is the year to show empathy toward others. This is the year to commit to one another and yourself that you will work to become a better empath. We all deserve to be understood, and to understand. I ask that this year especially, with all the challenges we will face together, that we will not only learn the true meaning of empathy but also practice it. You don’t know what you don’t know, but it is incumbent upon us to learn about and from one another so that we can fully understand who each other is. This does not mean we all have to 100% agree—our world would certainly be boring if that were the case, but it does mean we must work hard to understand one another true selves, our thoughts and our opinions. Only then will we be the community we strive to become—welcoming, supportive and respectful of all students, faculty and staff. Empathize with others.
V Value yourself and validate others
I’ll say it again—you matter. So value yourself. Treat your mind and body with care, especially as we face change. Be sure to plan in advance, get your sleep, take advantage of your frees, look ahead, look behind, take a break, stop and pause, be mindful of how you are feeling and respond appropriately. If you’re tired, start study hall early and get to bed on time. Read a book—and one that is your choice. Get outside. Go to one of the tents and take a mask break—it’s good for the soul and you’ll get a break from breathing in your own air for a moment at least! And validate others and how they are feeling. We’re all going to be happy, be energized, be sad, be frustrated—and all at different times. Comfort one another, validate one another, and know that as the old new cliché says, we’re all in this together. Value yourself and validate others.
E Elevate one another with our thoughts words and actions
We have an incredible opportunity in our little school community to celebrate and elevate one another on a daily basis. In a few short weeks we’re going to know basically everyone else who is sitting in our classrooms with us, who passes us in the hallways, who is at some table in the dining hall or who has joined a teacher’s zoom during office hours. We’ll listen to their writings in English, we’ll see their amazing drawings in art, we’ll witness their talents on the squash courts, and we’ll listen to their voices during All-School meeting as they sing a perfect song. Take a moment when you observe such things to say great work. I guarantee it will put a big smile on their face—and again, you will see it in their eyes. Write your teacher or student or athlete a quick note of thanks for going above and beyond. It matters, and it will not only elevate that person—you’ll see them walk taller for a few days—but it will elevate our entire community. So take the time. Elevate one another with our thoughts, words and actions.
BELIEVE—that’s perfect for the journey we are about to embark upon together.
Believe in fresh starts and new beginnings.
Believe in doing great work.
Believe in giving and in giving back.
Believe in taking a stand.
Believe you can make a difference.
Believe in your friends—new and old. Believe in your teachers. Believe in this community. Believe in our family.
Because as Architect Frank Lloyd Wright said: “The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen.”
I believe in you, and I believe in us. And I believe we are going to have an amazing 2020-21 adventure together.
Thanks, and have a wonderful week!