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Finding Joy in a Tough Job

by Dr. Julie Fernandez

Why would anyone want the job of a school principal?  It is a tough position. People yell at you, challenge you, and at times steal your parking space.  The responsibilities of a principal have grown exponentially during the past 10 years.  School accountability means the test scores are pinned to a principal’s shirt for all to see.   There is nowhere to hide when it comes to the endless responsibilities of the job. You must have knowledge of instructional strategies, human resources, special education, budgeting, scheduling, discipline, and serving food in the cafeteria.  If there is a problem on a campus, it is the principal’s problem. However, the job is not all about stress and gloom.  There is joy.

When the day is over and everyone goes home, you can sit back and reflect on the enormity of the job that God entrusted you to do.   It is a calling far beyond any thoughts of glory you had when you first dreamed of this career path.  Children depend on you to hire the best teachers.  They come in the doors hoping for unconditional love and acceptance.  They look to you as their parent away from home.  It is an overwhelming honor.

How you keep all the stress from sucking the joy out of your passion for the job is the biggest challenge.  I struggled with this problem all the time, but I finally found a simple solution. On particularly stressful days, I went to kindergarteners for advice.  It was at the end of the day when they were resting from a long day of letters, numbers, and songs.  I asked them to sit with me and give me their wisdom for living a life full of joy.  One little boy who smelled like Play-doh and sweat looked me in the eye and said, “When I am tired, I take my blanket and snuggle with my mom.  She makes me feel good.  She loves me.”  When I arrived home that evening, I took my blanket and snuggled with my Father.  He made me feel good.  He loves me.  “Humble yourselves, therefore under God’s mighty hand so he may lift you up in due time, casting all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5: 6-7, NIV)

Never underestimate His love and care for you when you follow His calling to positions where you are entrusted with the care of His children.  Stress in any job is inevitable especially in jobs where leadership is vital.  However, how we manage our stress is what separates the believers from the non-believers. Snuggle with your Father and allow Him to take your burdens and lighten your load.  There you will find joy.

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