Find Your Happy Place!

By Jack Birmingham, IPLI Mentor, Assistant Superintendent at Union Township School Corporation

There is always something special about the start of spring. Whether it is the sound of birds chirping, the crack of a baseball bat, or the sound of a lawnmower, this time of year adds a little extra pep to our step. When I was a principal, I specifically remember noticing the greenness of our grass in and around our building on a random April day. I had no concerns about some of the stresses that lie ahead that day for a brief moment.

As building leaders, finding that “happy place” in your mind is vital to your well-being. This strategy is as important as school safety, curriculum development, and parent/staff relationships. If you cannot mentally make a pit stop in your mind, you may find yourself stuck in the damaging rut of your profession. We need YOU in your happy place. When visiting colleagues and teachers, look for their comfortable places in their offices and classrooms. You can find them. Framed pictures of spouses, children, vacations spots, pets, etc., are scattered throughout our offices that help “teleport” ourselves to those beautiful moments in our lives. Encourage these folks to talk about their items when you visit. A simple “I love that picture” or “tell me about this vacation spot” helps them revisit their happy place!

As spring approaches with all of its excitement for warmer weather and many happy places, I like to think of country singer/songwriter Kenny Chesney’s song “Reality.” We need to be able to, at times, escape Reality….and find our Happy Place.

by Kenny Chesney

For me, it’s a beach bar

or on a boat underneath the stars

or with my band up on a stage

for a while, everything’s okay

For some, it’s a fast car

Moonshine in a mason jar

and everybody has their way

Somehow to escape…..Reality

….Take our minds to a better place

Where we feel that sense of freedom

Leave our worries behind; we don’t need them

All we need is a sunny day and an old tailgate, and we’ll escape Reality