Exhausted. Relieved. Smarter. These are some of the adjectives that describe how I felt on Friday at 6 pm. That would be when my administrator pressed “send” on our application to become a national school of character. The road leading up to this point started several years prior when we first learned about the distinction and decided to apply. In the beginning I was excited, hopeful and energized. Little did we all know what an arduous and long process it would be.
 
Over the past few years, a rotating team from our school spent countless hours learning about best practices, analyzing existing ones, collecting documentation, and continuously coming back to the table as a team to discuss and adjust. Along the way I often felt frustrated, in need of support, just wanting it to end. The whole process was an adventure, to say the least – but the same could be said about many journeys.
 
All good stories have a beginning, middle and end. And they all follow a somewhat predictable pattern of hope, frustration, and finally, relief. Many events in the past few weeks have reminded me about aspects of this process – my son’s marriage, the death of a friend, writing a book.
 
Teachers – It’s December. You are in the middle of your yearlong journey, so don’t lose hope. Although some adventures are harder than others, there are always bright spots along the way. Rather than simply counting down days, focus on the joy of the season, look for the blessings, capitalize on the laughter, and enjoy the adventure of this wild ride leading up to our winter break. It will most certainly be here before we know it.