Starting our first day of Tiqvah is like starting the first day of school for me. I remember the excitement and the fear that went into going to school. The first day was always filled with the hope that everything would go perfectly, that I would make new friends, and that there would be fun. Now the first day for a Site Director has the same hopes but it also comes with a reality check. The things I know I can expect of our first day include: absent students, scheduling shifts, parental confusion and miscommunications all around. Holding reality and hope both in front of me I have a tendency to anticipate the worst of reality in order to brace myself for the preparations it will require. In doing so I reduce the beauty of those high hopes. I want to share the hope that I saw on our first day now that I have walked through the realities of it.
The hope that everything would go perfectly always eludes me. However, I realize that perfection would be boring. Our schedule did not run perfectly, our students did not have TV grade perfect behavior, and getting them all set to go home was by far no simple task. But the hope that I see in each of these speaks volumes. An imperfect schedule means our students got spend time with their team leaders. Each leader has the task of getting students acclimated not only to having a new leader and new classmates but a whole new building and time table for Tiqvah. Our leaders went over a lot of new changes for students in the hope that we can get them used to our new schedule. We have made many adjustments at Tiqvah this year to try and fit our kids better but it will take time to see the hoped for benefits come into fruition. So I know despite a rough first night there is hope for our schedule.
My hope to make new friends on a first day is something that happily always gets time in the first day of Tiqvah. The kids tease me about calling them “friend”, but I want them to know how much I care about them. After our first day I have a handful of new friends, a couple of whom had a rough first day. Imagine being in first grade, working through your first year of being in a big-kid school and then being sent to a new place after school too. We have a few new little ones who had rough days merely because they didn’t know us and missed mom. But the hope that I see in these moments of fear is building a relationship with them. I get to show them we are adults to be trusted. I get to show them that bad days are okay, that when we have them there are ways to still grow and find happiness. And most importantly I get to show them that at Tiqvah we care for them regardless of what may happen as a result of their bad days.
Now my hope for fun did not get fulfilled for myself on our first day, simply because it is hard to have fun when you are anticipating trouble. That being said, know that our kids had a blast. They got to explore their new rooms; meet new leaders; choose enrichments where they danced, made flubber, or started conditioning; and even made some new friends. It is the fun that I see the kids having and that gives me hope for the school year. If my schedule doesn’t run perfectly but one of my students learns they love to dance, I have hope. If one of our students is having a bad day and is not in control of themselves but lets me talk with them through it, I have hope. So our hopes for the school year are so much bigger than just our first day of Tiqvah. Our hopes for the school year don’t look like picture perfect scenes. Instead our hopes for the school year come from an eternal hope that is so much bigger than ourselves; the hope of abundant life for our students through a relationship with Christ.