A Time To Be Thankful

This week I am posting something personal.
At the time of this writing, we are on our way home after our eight-year-old son, Jack, was hospitalized for a week-long stay with an infectious disease called Kawasaki.

Thankfully, he was treated early and is showing good signs of recovery.

Last week, I had posted an article called 4 Caution Lights For School Leaders on the website, Connected Principals, where I shared the lessons I had learned years ago about my own tendency to over commit myself to my work.

As can be expected, Jack’s illness brought our normal world to a stand still as we circled together searching for answers and praying for his healing. The good side of this difficult season is that it brought me back to all those areas of life that matter most: faith, family, and friends.

Without going into every detail of his illness and recovery, let me just say how overwhelmed my wife and I were by the flood of love and support from friends at church, school, and the community. We were blown away at the expert teamwork of his doctors and nurses. We have counted our blessings as he survived some very serious complications before, during, and after treatment.

Back at school, my team there ran school beautifully without me. They worked hard to protect me from interruption and sacrificed every day to fill in the gaps I left behind. In fact, I am wondering if school actually ran better in my absence.

Perhaps later, I will make a list of lessons I learned during this time. For now, I will just say what I am thankful for:

1. I am thankful for family. A wife who sacrificed days and nights to be by Jack’s side. For daughters who cried for their brother and encouraged and teased him when he needed it. For loving family members who visited, called, and sent messages of support.

2. I am thankful for friends. For a pastor who visited and prayed with us every day. For old friends and new friends who stopped by to check in on Jack and us. For meals, offers to pick up the girls, a friend who folded our laundry and cleaned up our messy house.

3. I am thankful for a school that is more than a job. For an extended family of people who care more about my son than they do about evaluations or state reports. For my network of school buddies around the state who sent me well-wishes and prayers.

On a more humorous note, my wife also referred to this time as “It’s A Wonderful Life” week–one of those experiences where the rest of us realized how impossible life is without her at home.

But it was mostly a week where we realized how much we all love one another.

As we get ready for Thanksgiving this month, I am not too worried about traveling, turkey, or pies. Instead, I want to gather with those I love, honor the memories of those who have gone before us, and just tell God ‘Thank you’.

Now It’s Your Turn:
What are most thankful for this season? Let’s start rehearsing them now before Thanksgiving so we’re celebrating all month!

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William D. Parker
William D. Parker