Head of School’s Notebook: Love & Perspective

December 8, 2023

*ABE = Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence

This fall, I was invited to join The 1911 Group established one year after the founding of Cate. I recently attended the annual conference at Princeton and as the newest and youngest member of the group, I had the opportunity to listen and learn from an incredibly impressive array of school leaders. As part of our workshops, we each conducted an assessment of our own character strengths and discussed how these strengths influence our own practices as leaders.

When I received my top five strengths, I immediately thought about Cate and how these very strengths are on display each day in our community.

The two that have resonated with me, particularly in the context of where I get to live and work are love and perspective.

Love – I recently read a reflection by Maria Poppova where she framed love as the process of “mirroring and magnifying each other’s light.” This framing is exactly what I see each day in our classrooms, practices, and casual interactions. Not only do we recognize each other’s “light” but we actively work to reflect it back to each other in our acts of appreciation and care.

Perspective – Some of my favorite moments each day are when I run into someone and we get a few moments to walk and talk. Without fail, the first thing one of us says is, “Can you believe how beautiful it is here?” The simple act of noticing our surroundings, the warmth, or the quality of the light creates an immediate shift towards appreciation and awe and puts the struggles of the day into perspective. I truly believe that the Mesa is one of the most powerful teachers we all have. The majesty of this place pulls us all into a larger frame of belonging that connects us across all the generations who’ve lived and learned here together.

As we all head into this final week of classes before our much anticipated Winter Break, I hope we can hold onto how love and perspective are alive in our shared efforts each day. For me, the very act of pausing and letting in the view immediately awakens a feeling of love and appreciation for this community. Perhaps you too can take a moment to get perspective on what this past year has meant to you. Drop me a line to share what you notice or wonder: alex_lockett@cate.org.