Jan 22, 2021 Message to Members

“… doctors and lawyers and such”

My youngest daughter had a favourite song when she was very little, and this song experienced a ‘victory lap’ this week. Back then – after she’d been strapped into her car seat and I’d taken the helm – she would call out from behind me, “Daddy, play roch, chok, ow!” Now that was not the title of the song, but she can be forgiven for mispronouncing the lyric – she was three, and an elocution lesson for the singer wouldn’t have hurt! The lyric was the opening of a song, with a lead vocal that counted in the band, “…one, two, three, ow!”  Fifteen years later, my daughter and her classmates tossed their caps into the June air to the very same count of three. At that crescendo, with brains in their heads and feet in their shoes, they moved on to whatever would be next for them. In memory, our students are frozen in time and perpetually 18 years old. But, on occasion, we experience a blast from the past when paths cross once again.

Over the Winter break, a colleague had to deal with a challenging health concern. She spent  time with specialists, undergoing tests and receiving diagnoses. She had to spend time in a hospital, meeting with her health care providers (and was grateful for the welcome care she received). During one of the waiting periods in the hospital, she found herself chatting with the senior resident physician. As they talked, he discovered she was a school Principal, and she discovered that he had grown up in her school community. As you may expect, they soon realized they had met before … many years before when he was a child in her elementary school.

I expect that we can all relate, having caught up with our former students years after the cap toss. Sometimes we read about them in the media, learning that they are representing Canada at the Olympics. Or, we hear their name during a livefeed event with NASA. Or, we see their credit at the end of a Pixar reel. Or, they pick us up hitchhiking because we ran out of gas. Or, we just see them in our community with their family, living the life they have built. However it happens – and whatever time has unfolded for them – these moments touch us because we invested. As leaders in our school communities, we are privileged with the daily opportunity to invest in the lives of many young people. The investments we make during a global pandemic may be more crucial and more challenging than ever before. 

This week saw the inauguration of Joe Biden, the 46th President of the United States, and a number of musical performers were part of the day’s celebrations. One band was invited, after twenty-two years, to reunite for the event and perform a Biden family favourite that is significantly connected to their own personal struggles, and to the bruising road to the White House. It turns out that the song is a favourite of my daughter, too. You Only Get What You Give by the New Radicals – a ballad that begins with that memorable countdown – offers some apt words for our times: 

“The whole damn world could fall apart
 You’ll be okay, follow your heart
 You’re in harm’s way, I’m right behind 
 What’s real can’t die
 You only get what you give”

The people we are investing in today will grow up, push on, and move away. It is rewarding to know that society will reap the dividends of our investments when they become nurses, electricians, actors or accountants … and maybe even cowboys.   


The BC Principals' & Vice-Principals' Association is a voluntary professional association representing school leaders employed as Principals and Vice-Principals in BC's public education system. We provide our members with the professional services and supports they need to provide exemplary leadership in public education.

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