Years ago, a dear friend helped me realize that when my index finger is pointing at somebody else, more often than not I need to view how my other fingers are positioned. He helped me notice the rest of my fingers point back at myself, especially when my point is coming in a fit of anger or while I'm defending myself.
This lesson learned has served me well over the years. It's helped me to instead attempt to open my hands when I really want to point at somebody else.
I covered a few meetings this past week which prompted the picture of an open hand to enter my thoughts.
Residents from the Clay Central-Everly and Ruthven-Ayrshire school districts expressed different issues and concerns aimed at specific individuals' actions, as well as at conditions occurring within their districts because of these supposed actions. If conflict between individuals didn't occur during the respective meetings, it definitely did as a followup -- whether as a direct result from comments exchanged during a meeting, from individuals who heard accounts from others or from anonymous postings made online.
It was pointed out in both districts that students need to be placed at the forefront. As adult mentors and role models, it was mentioned that appropriate comments and actions, especially in reference to such situations, need to occur in front of youth.
It was also underscored by residents of both districts that the appropriate chain of command when handling a concern needs to be followed by all involved. While emotions sometimes need to run awry for a while in order for a more peaceful, sought-after ending to ensue, this helps to maintain a sense of calmness.
Emotionally, these were three board meetings that were tough to watch and report. Watching others coiled and ready to attack each other is not fun to witness.
It's much less tense when respect is shown and hands are opened.