Thursday, March 27, 2008

Challenged Families (Betsy McCall)

Betsy McCall----How do you always stay so “calm, cool & collected” after dealing with our most “emotionally challenged” families throughout the year? Karen Meissner

Dear Karen,

Thanks for passing the Tinkerbell on to me. I am humbled, honored, and……….a little speechless. It is difficult for me to talk about myself, but I will try my best to answer your question.

This week at Atlantic Beach the surf has been pounding, the wind is blowing, the sky is gray-it’s a typical nor’easter along the coast. So as I reflect on your question, I keep thinking of the weather.

Often times at work, I feel like a hurricane wind is blowing. Students, parents, meetings, papers, testing, and deadlines all swirl around me with gale force intensity. Every now and then I can feel this power roaring on the inside and I feel anything but “calm, cool, and collected.” When this happens, I just step away from the situation for a little while, debrief with a mentor, work a crossword or listen to some music. A simple time out will usually bring out the peaceful, soothing sunshine.

Most of the time however, I feel like the eye of the hurricane; that calm and quiet place in the middle of a turbulent storm. No matter what is going on around me, I am blessed with the gift of keeping a cool head. Even in the worst of storms, like Katrina, I picture myself in a helicopter throwing a lifeline down to a family that is stranded on the roof of their house. No matter how tough a situation, there is always a solution to be found. Sometimes it takes a whole team of people working, planning and scheming for months on end. Other times it just takes a moment to stop and share an umbrella and a smile. This determination to find a solution is one thing that keeps me surrounded by tranquility.

I truly feel like listening and reflecting in a peaceful manner is a gift I have had all my life. Even in high school friends would share their most intimate problems with me. Somehow I am that little lifeboat that can slowly sail along and pick up one person at a time and move them to safety. I am truly blessed to incorporate this gift into my daily work.

I can’t stop without a more personal note……..I guess I am not so speechless…

I count my blessings everyday and this also keeps me focused and calm. To have this wonderful job, at this amazing school, among such talented people is indeed a dream come true.

This year as I battled breast cancer and fought the hurricane within myself, I felt totally surrounded and protected by every person here at Chets Creek. Each of you was my own personal storm shelter. You gave me comfort, strength, support and courage through your prayers and hugs and notes and pink shirts. I was and am still overwhelmed daily by your outpouring of love!!!!. You made the difficult and unknown easier to bear. I believe that because of this I am stronger, calmer, and indeed a more grateful servant.

And in the true Chets Creek spirit, you have encompassed countless others with your support. You walk, run, collect pennies, and sell lemonade in the hopes of finding a cure for cancer. I believe it can be done! THANK YOU!

It has been six months since my surgery and over spring break I had my first post-op mammogram. It came back crystal clear. Life is good.

With sincerest gratitude,

1 comment:

Dorry Lopez said...

I loved reading your response! It was so heartfelt and sincere. I love the kind person you are and how you spread that kindness others. Congratulations on a crystal clear report; I am celebrating your life with you!