A few Thursdays ago, we had a guest speaker, Dr. Bob Duke, come to Westlake High School. Dr. Duke, who teaches at the University of Texas at Austin, is an expert in the area of brain research and development. Dr. Duke spoke to us about the developing brain and its impact on how we experience and perceive happiness. Part of the discussion was how and when we start to lose the simple joys as a child. Dr. Duke provided many examples of this for the audience. This resonated with our students and staff as we could all remember when happiness and joy was a song, a cupcake, a Popsicle, a sandbox or even a kitten away. And then Dr. Duke asked the big question: what do you find joy in today - where do you find happiness? After this extraordinary lead in from Dr. Duke, the campus went silent……….this may be one of the tougher questions to answer after reflecting on our youngest years of joy.
While this can be an introspective question, I challenge you to ask your family and friends where they believe you find joy. Their answers may actually surprise you because they may view your laughter and smiles differently than you do. After I completed a jog late one night, my girls surprised me by telling me how happy I am after I complete my old man run around the neighborhood. This was shocking since we recently had to say goodbye to our Maggie after 17 years. Maggie was my walking and running companion for nearly two decades. Even when she had major trouble with walking, we would still go on “runs” as I would jog in place next to her - we became quite the sight in our neighborhood. The girls have told me how excited I still become after my runs instead of being downtrodden as they thought would happen. As I reflected, I guess I was happy - I could now think of Maggie as I run by her favorite places - our lake, park by the pool, and all the yards we passed over the years. The target is ever moving so check with your closest group to see if your source of happiness has changed. It might be a good time to also check in with your kids to see if your perception of what makes your kids joyful is the same as what they think makes them joyful.
A little over eight years ago, we began our Senior Service Day at WHS. While I had a pretty good idea, our student support counselor, Katie Bryant, took the idea and built this day into one of the more meaningful activities for our seniors. Katie has done a tremendous job with her leadership on this day for our campus. Here are some pictures of our students experiencing joy by helping others in our community.
We hope you enjoy the three day weekend. The month of May will be upon us as we return next Tuesday. We are only four school days away from three weeks of testing - STAAR, Advanced Placement, and final exams. Plus we will throw in a prom along with graduating the Class of 2018, all within those 25 days in May. Take care, and take care of your loved ones this long weekend!
Steve Ramsey: WHS Principal Blog
Principal's Weekly Reflections