Feeding each other, and learning to grow

Published 9:13 pm Friday, October 22, 2010

Several years ago, Ann Landers shared the following story:

A man spoke with the Lord about heaven and hell. The Lord said to the man, “Come, I will show you Hell.” They entered a room where a group of people sat around a huge pot of stew. Everyone was famished, desperate and starving. Each held a spoon that reached the pot, but each spoon had a handle so much longer than their own arm that it could not be used to get the stew into their own mouths. The suffering was terrible.

“Come, now I will show you heaven,” the Lord said after a while. They entered another room, identical to the first – the pot of stew, the group of people, the same long-handled spoons. But there everyone was happy and well-nourished.

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“I don’t understand,” said the man. “Why are they happy here when they were miserable in the other room and everything was the same?”

The Lord smiled. “Ah, it is simple,” he said. “Here they have learned to feed each other.” Feeding and supporting each other . . . not a novel idea but an idea that we often do not implement. Sure, we talk the talk about “being in this together,” but we trudge forward with our long-handled spoons unable to nourish ourselves and unwilling to nourish others.

In our effort to create a “feeding” culture and climate at CHHS that embraces and promotes the ideas and perspectives of student leaders, teacher leaders, parents, and community leaders, we have established the Principal’s Advisory Council. The mission of the council is to extend our long-handled spoons to each other in the sharing of ideas and in planning ways to take our school from good to GREAT. The ultimate goal is to create an intellectual climate that provides rigor and challenges our students to move beyond their “academic comfort zone.”

The Principal’s Advisory Council members are Brooke Byrd, SGA President; Allison LeCroy, Senior Class President; three parents – Countess Carswell, Lana Hartley, and Stacy Graning; three community leaders – Dr. James Kimbrough, City Council Chair Johnny Witherington, and County Commissioner Robin Sullivan; and nine teacher leaders – Stacey Carpenter, Becky Ensey, David Laliberte, Pamela Merkel, Dorothy Peterson, Pam Smith, Julie Thomas, Jackie Tuck, and Kevin Watson.

The council held its first meeting recently and will hold a monthly meeting on the first Monday of each month. All interested persons are invited to attend our next meeting on Monday, Nov. 1, at the CHHS Administrative Building at 3:30 PM. We are “in this together” and it benefits our children and our community when we come to the table and extend our spoons to each other.

Dr. Kathy Murphy is principal at Charles Henderson High School.