Head of School Finds Silver Linings in the Gray Cloud of COVID-19

March 26, 2020

Our School Leader discusses the first week of distance-learning, and how we can all stay positive in the weeks to come.

Well, we are a day away from wrapping up week one of distance learning. I am proud of our entire community—our faculty and staff, our students, and our parents and guardians for the ways everyone has committed to being All In on Shattuck-St. Mary’s School during this global crisis. The collective positive energy is palpable.

I am an optimist—always have been. Sometimes, as some of my colleagues can attest, I can be frustratingly optimistic. I’ve even developed my own acronym for the mini-victories that we are finding during this crisis: SSL, or Small Silver Linings. And, being a Grateful Dead fan[1], I cannot think of the phrase “silver lining” without hearing the line, “Every silver lining’s got a touch of grey.”[2] Of course, this line is a play on the idiom, “every cloud has a silver lining.” The difference here, of course is that instead of focusing on the cloud, Robert Hunter, the Dead’s lyricist, focuses instead on the silver lining. That’s my kind of guy, and actively reframing our thinking to attend to the positive is certainly an apropos message these days.

Tuesday evening while walking the circle around St. Mary’s Hall, I spotted bright yellow bulbs emerging from the plant beds. Walking over for a closer look, I was happy to see that on a cold windy evening with grey clouds covering the sky, crocuses[3] were beginning to burst through. And I was reminded of another Dead lyric, “Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.”[4] And again, I was reminded that while we cannot control some of what is around us, we can control our perspective. I’m happy to continue to assume the positive is the overwhelming majority of life and, while the negatives will always be there, we shouldn’t let them distract us from our goals.

Hopefully, and with the support of our entire community, we can keep these “touches of grey” in perspective: every silver lining has one. But it’s the silver linings on which we choose to focus.

Stay healthy and safe.

Mr. Cav

[1] Affectionately, we are known as “Dead Heads.”
[2] “Touch of Grey”
[3] Full disclosure: I thought they were tulips. I sent a picture to our soon to be master gardener (and HR Director Ms. Sellner) who informed me they were crocuses.
[4] “Scarlet Begonias”