Pagosa Springs Elementary School

Skip to main content
Mobile Menu
| Login Español More Info

A Principal's Blog, Toward a Civil Society: Take time for and care of yourselves!

It can be hard to be kind when the world isn't kind to us. When our circumstances aren't what we hope for. When expectations aren't being met. When our checklists are overwhelming us: Make the kids' lunch, get the oil changed, shovel the snow, pay the bills, check on my sick mom, get my child to soccer practice … and the lists go on. 

And, then add in a pandemic. Worry, stress.

We weren't made to simply go through our checklists every day--we are made to have relationships, fun, enriching times with others. Sure, there are things that must be done. But, I want to encourage you (and me) to somehow squeeze in some time for ourselves to do something we enjoy and care for each other. If we care for ourselves and each other then it becomes easier to be kind and civil in stressful situations.

When I hosted marriage retreats in my service with the Army, I used a study that showed how couples (engaged, married, cohabitating) viewed "the last time we went on a date." (While this was for couples, hang with me single moms and dads; this can apply to you as well). When asked the question "When was the last time you went on a date?" there were two interesting splits: Females reported that it had been longer since they'd been on a date than their male counterparts and dating become less frequent in those married/cohabitating during years 6 through19.
So, why the discrepancies?  What do you think?

Engaged people can hardly be pried apart with a crowbar (They're so cute). People together 30+ years have a lot more time to date each other. But, what about the rest of the graph?

Males Report Less Time Between Dates
My wife tells me, "Just because you wore your good jeans and took me with you to the dump doesn't mean that was a date."  Perhaps she has something there I need to listen to? It seems my idea of a date (Wearing my good jeans) doesn't match her expectation of what might be considered a date. And, maybe she's looking for something different that Sonic tater tots. 

Couples Together Between the 6th and 19th Years Date Less
These are those tough years filled with those checklists I mentioned. There is so much to do. These are the years kids come along and they join extracurricular activities. I know we followed our kids as they competed in wrestling, football, track, baseball, basketball, choir, and joined the theatre. It was a very busy time!  This is also the time couples are establishing their businesses, working extra hours or several jobs, and we are tired! 

"Just because you wore your good jeans and took me with you to the dump doesn't mean that was a date."

So, what can we do?

First, we may need to align our expectations. It's amazing how much better a relationship can be with aligned expectations. What is a date to you, to your loved one? What does it involve? Can it be 5 minutes? Can it be a weekend getaway? What can you afford? Are there things you can do to show your care for one another that are free? A walk along the river? A hike in the forest? A drive through the aspens in the fall? Is it really just wearing your good jeans?

Secondly, we must make the time. Sometimes that means being "masters of the moment." Let me give you an example: I went through 7 years where I traveled two weekends a month for the Army, was the assistant principal and athletic director for the middle school, and built homes as a side job. Monday through Friday days were spent with students and parents. Tuesday and Thursday nights were sporting event coverage. Friday nights I helped cover high school events. Saturdays were tourney days. Wednesday evenings were committed to band practice at church, and Monday evenings were Army preparation time and school committee meetings. Melanie and I had to become "masters of the moment" and take advantage of the "in-between" times as we went through this phase of life.

Sometimes, after the bell rang at 3:30 and before an athletic event started at 4, we'd run up to Sonic and grab a snack together. In thirty minutes, with one end of a chili dog in her mouth and the other end in my mouth we'd meet in the middle and have a great date, a dinner, and time to talk. Imagine the horror of the junior high kiddo as I looked up from my chili dog and he stood there frozen at the front of my pickup staring at Mr. and Mrs. Cowan sharing a chili dog like that!

Moments matter.

And, we need our moments together when we're charging through life and the checklists are bearing down on us. We need to pause and remember, we didn't get together to do checklists; we got together to share our love with one another. It's important to have fun. Even if that means scheduling fun. 

Single moms and dads, this concept of self-care is important for you!  This weekend my wife and I will watch our nephews so their parents can go out. I hope you have a friend or family member that you can partner with to allow you some time for yourself as they care for your kids. 

Is it time I ask "How many weeks has it been since I took my wife/husband/significant other on a date?"  I wonder if we were more intentional in having fun how it might affect us when in those stressful situations. I wonder if it would help us be more civil and kind. 

I believe it would.