The Importance of Support Networks
March 3, 2016

I am an introvert. I like my alone time. When something is tough, I grit my teeth and move forward, one step at a time. I do not often ask for help. Challenges face me, and I face them back, often on my own – not because I lack support from the people around me, but because I tend to believe that the best way to handle a challenge is to go straight through it. Time and time again, it has been proven to me that “alone” is not always the best way through an obstacle. Yes, I get through it, but often with more struggling and stress than necessary.

Yesterday afternoon I had my monthly telecon with several Heads of School located all over the United States. Up until the minute I dialed in, I contemplated bailing and working on something…enrollment, outplacement, strategic planning, field trip scheduling. But I had made a commitment, so I closed my door, picked up the phone, and connected with my peers.

As always, after a meeting with my peers, I felt refreshed and able to see challenges with a new perspective. Schools all over the country, big and small, move through the same motions. Admissions and marketing, retention and enrollment. At the heart of all we do, however, is to serve the children in our care. It is so helpful to know that my victories can be shared with others, and my heartache, as well. Speaking with my peer group allows me to be myself, open up, and take in and give sage advice.

As a new parent years ago, I was the same way. With my first child, I struggled to leave the house with him, and more often than not, ended up not joining other moms at lunch or at the park. I did not invite people over because I was dealing with a crying baby and diapers, and that was about all I could handle. One friend was relentless about seeing me and getting our children together. At the time, I found her invitations exasperating. Twelve years later, she remains one of my best friends – someone I can talk to about parenting highs and lows. Lean on your friends and reach out to your peers. Whatever the parenting struggle du jour is, somebody else has been or is experiencing the same thing.

I found that my children’s teachers, who spend more daytime with my children than I do, serve as members of my support group, as well. They care for my children, and understand my excitement and my frustrations. It is so important for parents and teachers to work together. We are all on the same team, and want the best for each child. Do we agree on everything? Of course not. Do we want our children to succeed and be their best selves? Absolutely. Parents and teachers bridge that connection between home and school – and work together to ensure a stable and consistent learning environment!

Harbor School