May 2, 2018

Dear Flint Hill Families,

Probably more so this year than any other year, I’ve noticed that some things seem to be out of whack. As I stood at the front door to the Upper School recently, greeting people and looking at the beautiful cherry blossoms, I was freezing because of the cold temperatures! We have all watched beautiful flowers coming up in our yards and the grass turning green, but once you take a step outside, the low temperatures and the cold wind could take you back to the beginning of December! This week it finally feels like spring.

We seem to be experiencing “contradictions” in all aspects of our lives.

I know we have Seniors that have worked hard on everything you would have ever asked, and yet, they may not achieve the college acceptance they were hoping for. We have worked very carefully on the plan for the new Middle School and its impact on local traffic, and yet we have unhappy neighbors. And as a soccer coach, I learned a long time ago that while you can completely dominate a game at first, you aren’t guaranteed to win it.

Life is not easy, predictable or “a given” at times, so we have to prepare our children—and ourselves—to manage and overcome obstacles as they arise. At this crazy time of year, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Patience: We need to recognize the fact that life is filled with patterns that can be out of sync. But we need to be calm, patient and deliberate in how we handle things that don’t go our way. Whether it’s through mindfulness, exercise or simply taking a moment to yourself, engage in whatever healthy practice you need to weather life’s storms.
  • Understanding and appreciation: Sometimes life just doesn’t make sense or follow a script. We need to accept that. Understand it. And appreciate it for what it is. Sometimes our emotions and feelings will get in the way of that process, and fear can overwhelm us. It can be rational or irrational. And for some of us, faith or belief in a higher power can enter into the equation. Faith and resolve come from understanding and appreciating the fact that we are part of a world that is greater than ourselves.
  • Anticipation: Sometimes it helps to go into a situation knowing that you may encounter difficulty along the way. There will always be an unexpected change or a roadblock, but ultimately, there will always be a way to solve that problem or to experience that event positively. And a sense of momentum can carry us forward in whatever circumstances we are confronting.
  • Acceptance: Sometimes it takes us a while to get this one, but eventually we can accept the fact that things will work out. As I write this letter, the temperatures have been going back and forth between the 40s and the 80s, but suddenly, the weather appears to have settled. The grass is as green as it can be, the daffodils look beautiful coming up, the cherry blossoms have all dropped, and clearly, some trees are budding while others are just getting ready to do so. Plants in the foliage, I am sure confused by what’s been going on, but ultimately spring will be here to stay. The same can be said about many of life’s adventures.

 

So together, let’s appreciate and value the contradictions that make up our lives. Let’s smile when we encounter some of them and realize that in some cases, while we “can’t make this stuff up,” that is the way life is and will always be. It is still a gift that we should all cherish. Have fun! Enjoy this charge through May! And please take time to join me in thanking those who have written the previous letters for my section of the newsletter this year.

I look forward to seeing you at carpool or around campus in the coming week.

 

Best wishes to you!

Sincerely,

John M. Thomas
Headmaster