Friendship Friday — Mrs. Keech, Principal

Mrs. Keech Hello everyone, and welcome to this week’s Friendship Friday post!  Today, we are talking about Sophie’s BFF at school — the person we all know and love as Mrs. Keech!

Take a moment and picture this in your mind’s eye:

It is August, 2006, and the day has arrived for two wide eyed — and slightly nervous — parents to take their daughter to Kindergarten Orientation.  This orientation, truth be told, is for the parents, not the children, but while we are being taught the ins and outs of kindergarten, our children — or in our case, Sophie — would leave the multi-purpose center and go to one of the kindergarten classrooms to see what life in the classroom was like.

We knew that Sophie would be going to this classroom, but we also knew that she was nervous — and she did NOT want to go.  However, we explained that it would be okay, that she would have fun, and she grudgingly was the last one down the aisle to head to the front to head out to the classroom.  I could tell that she was stressed — her shoulders were scrunched up, the tension was just radiating off of her, and I didn’t think it was going to be a good time for her.

But then, as she approached Mrs. Keech, who was waiting for her to leave so she could continue, she saw her — and you could SEE the tension just slip away.  I literally saw her take a deep breath, her shoulders relaxed, and she walked right up to Mrs. Keech and said “Hi, my name is Sophie.”  Mrs. Keech, being the saint that she is, proceeded to say “Hi, Sophie, my name is Mrs. Keech.  Can I take you over here so you can go play in the classroom?”  From that moment on, Sophie and Mrs. Keech were best buds.

Halfway through Kindergarten, Sophie — who carpools to school — got out of the car, gave Mrs. Keech the big hug she always gets, and told Cindy “Mrs. Keech is my BFF!”  Of course, Cindy wasn’t sure if this was a good thing or a bad thing — was Mrs. Keech the BFF because Sophie was in trouble a lot and always in the office?  Or was the fact that Mrs. Keech was Sophie’s BFF a good thing because she would keep an eye out for her?  Turns out the latter was the case here.

Mrs. Keech was Sophie’s Principal from K-4th grade (well about halfway through 4th grade) — but then the unthinkable happened — Mrs. Keech got a promotion to be the principal of a middle school, and Sophie would have a new principal for the first time in her school career.

5th Grade was a challenge a little bit, because things were done to prep the kids for 6th grade and middle school, but overall, it was a good year, and Sophie passed her end of grade tests with flying colors.  The school that we were looking at going to was an all-girls leadership academy, and while we did get on the waitlist for the school, it wasn’t meant to be, so we picked a different school.  This particular school has a STEM focus, which means that it focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, which is four areas that Sophie excels at, so we applied for that school, and got accepted.  Perhaps the best news of all about that school — the principal was Mrs. Keech!

We went to 6th grade orientation in August of this past year, and Sophie was so excited!  We would get to see her new school, get her schedule, meet her teachers, see her classrooms, and so forth.  But the best thing of all — Sophie would get to see Mrs. Keech again!  When they saw one another, it was like nothing had ever changed — Sophie ran over to Mrs. Keech and gave her a huge hug, and I could see that Mrs. Keech — well, she had a tear in her eye at seeing her Sophie (Mrs. Keech only has boys at home, so there’s a bond between her and Sophie!)

The BFFs were reunited once again!

You know, we tried really hard to get Sophie into the girls leadership academy, but it wasn’t in God’s plan for Sophie.  God knows all, of course, and He KNEW that Sophie was meant to have Mrs. Keech there for her to lean on as needed.  Certainly, at a middle school, the principal has a different set of duties, and Sophie doesn’t interact with her as much — but as a parent, it is very reassuring to know that there is someone at school that has the best interests of your child at heart, and while we know that Mrs. Keech does that for all of her kids, as she calls them, we also know that the number of people that knew her when she was the principal of Sophie’s elementary school is a very short list — and Sophie is at the top of that list.

6th Grade hasn’t been as smooth a transition as we would have liked, but I can guarantee if we didn’t have Mrs. Keech there, it would have been a lot harder for us — and especially for Sophie.

So today, I give thanks to God for Mrs. Keech, who has to have the tough demeanor of a middle school principle, but inside, has the heart and soul of an angel.

As you all know, Friendship Friday is the brainchild of my dear friend Heidi from Heidi’s Head!  To see who she is highlighting today, go ahead and click on the image below, and thanks for stopping by!

friendship-friday

When the World Grieves

A Tearful Mickey Mouse – hand drawn by 11 year old Sophie.

On Friday, December 14th, 2012, the small town of Newtown, Connecticut, was struck with a grief so intense, it has shaken a nation — even a world — to it’s core.  On that morning, as you all likely know by now, a gunman came into Sandy Hook Elementary School and ended the lives of innocent lives.

As a parent of an eleven year old, that news hit home.  Part of me was thinking “How could this happen?” while another part of me was thinking “This was a movie scene, right?  It didn’t really happen, did it?”  Well, you all know that it did happen, and it is in the aftermath of such a tragedy that we struggle mightily to deal with the grief, and to try to explain to our children when they hear about it why such a thing could happen.  When the world grieves, what, as a parent, can you do?

I thought long and hard this weekend about whether or not to write a post — so much so that I haven’t posted anything since Friday to the site.  In the end, though, I decided that, perhaps, if I did write about it, someone, somewhere that is grieving right now might take comfort in knowing that this little blogger and his family are thinking of them.

When tragedy strikes such as this, more then anything it brings me back to my Bible, and it is a reaffirmation of what Jesus tells us in John 16:33:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”

No one right now is going through as much hurt as those families who have lost loved ones.  But they have one thing going for them, as sad as it is for them to comprehend right now — their loved ones are in the arms of Jesus right now, and while they are left behind, Jesus has not forgotten them, and He is giving them the strength they need right now to get through this, as well as bringing his Peace upon them.

it is far too easy to ask why in cases like this. It is really easy to be angry with God for allowing this to happen, and that is probably happening right now.  I don’t pretend to have the answers about why this has happened, and I don’t think that we will ever really know why this happened.  What I do know, though, is that our God is a loving God, that Jesus has won, even though it may not seem like it is so right now.  It is really easy to let our grief lead us down a road that takes us into sin through anger, and if this is happening to you right now, please, PLEASE, get down on your knees right now, clasp your hands together, and pray to God to give you the Peace you need — the Peace that only Jesus can provide — so that you won’t give in to your anger and do something that could cause more grief.  If you have sinned as a result of your anger, do the same thing — but first ask God to forgive you for your sin.  He will forgive you.  He always forgives those who ask forgiveness with a humble heart.

The grief won’t go away anytime soon, I’m afraid.  I know that it may seem like you want it to go away, that you want to just forget what has happened, but that isn’t what you should be doing, I believe.  Forgetting the grief, blocking it away, will not allow you to heal, and that wouldn’t help.  It is tough, but love always is, and saying goodbye, especially to your children, spouses, or other loved ones is never easy.  Life will go on, though, although I won’t claim that it will be any better for a while, if ever.  Your loved one is still gone, after all.

I doubt that this has been helpful to any of you, but maybe I’m wrong.  If this has helped you deal with your grief, then my objective was met.  At the very least, please know that the entire nation, but especially Newtown, Connecticut, is in my prayers, and in the prayers of my family.  God Bless Us, and God Bless the USA.