I was lucky to visit All Saints’ Episcopal Day School in Phoenix, Arizona this past week while the spring art show was on display. As I entered the art studio, I noticed a simple, hand-painted sign which read, “Please take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space.”
This sign really made me stop and think. It did not assume eventual bad behavior (such as the “seven deadly sins of the art room” I once saw posted in a middle school art studio). Nor did it invoke creativity, hard work, focus, or any number of other specific attributes. Instead, it simply asked us be mindful and intentional, recognizing that whatever we bring into a room affects not only ourselves, but others.
May is a crazy time of year in schools. Ironically, just when the year is “winding down” we feel more frazzled than ever. Frustration comes easily, and our quotient of mercy can be all used up. Maybe some students have displayed an appalling lack of judgment in the last weeks of school. Perhaps the overload of school events and field trips has worn us thin. Maybe, like the students, we find ourselves counting the days until school is out.
It’s a time to pay extra attention to the energy we bring into our classrooms, schools, homes, and relationships — and to help our colleagues, students, and parents in those moments when the end-of-year-frazzles threaten to get the better of us.