By Superintendent Kraig Steinhoff
My May 2017 blog post was titled Turn the Page and covered the topic of not being afraid to move on and turn the page while looking forward to the next chapter. Below is an excerpt from the writing that helps to set the stage for this month’s post.
I had the opportunity to travel this past weekend to Spencer, Iowa for a family graduation and my wife Nancy did the same to Hoven, SD. Both cases involved the celebration of two talented and successful young ladies that have promising futures ahead. My trip also allowed for me to stop and see two very dear ladies that are at different chapters in their lives. One was my former babysitter who is living in a nursing home and the other is my grandmother who is in assisted living. Both visits were very rewarding. As I left my grandmother’s room, she simply said “bye”. I left her room and walked down the hallway toward the exit hoping to not have to make eye contact with any of the other tenants or staff because of the tears I had rolling down my cheeks. I walked out the front door, took a deep breath, dried my eyes, and drove away. I left with a great feeling because the conversation I had with my grandma warranted me to witness her strength and faith to be ready to turn the page once she comes to the end of her own chapter. As humans, I guess we all have different chapters that come to us at different times and in different lengths. However, we also have the opportunity to not be afraid and simply turn the page.
This past summer the two dear ladies that I referenced in my May 2017 blog passed away. There is no doubt in my mind that both my former babysitter and grandmother confidently turned the page and witnessed the beginning of their best and most rewarding chapter yet. My grandmother had a massive stroke and survived several days in hospice before turning the page which allowed for loved ones to see her before she died. I can remember pulling up to the hospital and parking next to the vehicles I recognized from family members and the long walk to her hospital room. Upon entering, it took my breath away due to seeing my grandmother basically unresponsive and doing her best to finish the final pages of her last chapter on earth. The memory that will stay with me forever though is when I reached out to hold her hand on the side that wasn’t paralyzed. As I held her hand, she did grip mine and then she began to rub her thumb back and forth on my hand. I couldn’t believe that she was consoling me with her thumb movement when I was supposed to be the one consoling her at her bedside.
Her actions made me think about my life as an educator and how important is for us to always be looking to help our students, fellow staff, and the community. No matter what situation we are in, I think my grandmothers’ example of helping me can be an example for us all. Don’t be afraid to turn the page in whatever chapter of life you are in, and never underestimate the power of putting others needs ahead of yours.
“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” Zig Ziglar