I knew it was time for a holiday, when during a call to a certain telephone service provider I was told that I was being referred to the escalation manager. My thoughts were something like, “The escalation manager? Who knew there was such a person? And, do they know that being referred to the escalation manager only makes some people escalate more?” I had other thoughts too, but I won’t share them here; I think you can see where this was headed. The escalation manager was smart though; she didn’t call me until the next day.
This little experience did give me cause for pause and a good reminder. In schools, this time of year is undoubtedly joyful and exciting—but it is also a time of year when people are tired, energy is high, and there are often changes in routines and predictability. Students and staff are staying up later than they should, many of us are consuming out-of-the ordinary amounts of treats and goodies, and there is a bustle of activity beyond the school day for many.
At this time of year, I am particularly concerned about our students and staff who are experiencing difficult life circumstances or for whom the holiday season magnifies feelings of sorrow and loneliness. Hearts that are broken, bank accounts that are empty and cupboards that never have enough plague the lives of many amongst us throughout our communities.
We don’t have escalation managers in our schools. Instead we try to be extra-understanding, extra-generous, and extra-patient with each other—and with ourselves. And, perhaps there is a lesson here; maybe, just maybe, we need to be more understanding, more generous, and more patient with each other and ourselves—all year long.
I would like to wish each of you a safe and restful break. I hope that your celebrations will be joyful and I hope that we will all discover our inner “escalation manager.”