It’s Sunday afternoon in Columbus, Ohio. It’s a ridiculously nice 71 degree September day with bright sunshine outside. I’d like to be watching the Bengals game but 10tv is showing the Browns game so instead I’m glued to the Weather Channel watching the eye of a hurricane.
My parents moved to Ft. Myers, Florida as their primary residence back in 1999. My sister and my nephew moved down there in 2009. My brother-in-law and his family moved to South Florida in 2014. Many of you in Worthington can tell a similar story. The Gulf Coast is like a southern Columbus, Ohio and many of us have family and friends in the path of this storm. Thus as Hurricane Irma batters South Florida I can’t help but think about the numerous people we know who are there right now or who, like my family, are safely out of Florida but own property and businesses that will certainly be impacted.
My first trip to South Florida was in the back of our family Dodge Ramcharger in 1984. It was the first of what would be many drives down I-75 to Florida. As the oldest child I claimed the back seat and my younger sister was relegated to the luggage area behind the back seat. Apparently seat belts were unneeded in 1984 as long as we weren’t in the front seat. My family spent that spring break at the Bonita Beach Beach and Tennis Club. We’ve been going back ever since. It’s home away from home.
My nephew is a 6th grader in Lee County Schools. As I write today I can’t help but think about the Superintendent of Schools in Lee and Collier Counties (Ft. Myers and Naples). Many of their schools are serving as shelters for those riding out the storm. They cancelled classes at the end of last week and who knows when they’ll be safe to resume classes.
In Worthington I sometimes get mired in the muck. I forget how good we have it and I spend time worrying about how I’m going to adequately explain a state accountability system that has changed how we measure proficiency in Ohio. I worry about how our community will respond to our facilities challenges of Aging buildings, Balancing high school size and Capacity for all students. I stress about the upcoming Board of Education elections and about Friday night’s Thomas Worthington v. Worthington Kilbourne Football game. (I want our teams to compete like crazy but I want us to remember that in the end we’re one school district and one community. They are us and we are them. Compete hard. Cheer like crazy. Do it all with respect for your opponent and your neighbor.) All of these things are part of my job and worthy of my time.
But, Big things Big, Small things Small. The challenges that others face today, this week, and likely for a while in South Florida (and in Houston and with fires out West) will help me keep things in perspective. I’m hopeful for the safety of our friends in Florida. I’m hopeful that the property damage is less than expected and I’m hopeful that kids can get back to the safety of school as soon as possible.
Today, and everyday, let’s be thankful for our many blessings in Worthington, Ohio.