Unity

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As a member of the #compelledtribe, we were charged with a theme.  That theme was unity.  True to form, I thought and thought and thought.  I drafted, then destroyed.  Then tonight, I was inspired!

There are so many things that tear us apart: thoughts, beliefs, emotions, politics, questions, opinions, feelings.  Those same things can unite us. But I realized tonight that unity comes through many opportunities.  For me and my two children, the unity came through music.

“Mom, do we have to go?”, Katie asked.

“Yeah, Mom.  I get it’s a concert but if it’s for old people and it’s old people music, we’re not gonna like it.”, Gavin added.

“How do you know what you like unless you try it?”, I asked.

Sighing, “Mom, you’re just saying that because this is something YOU want to do, not something WE want to do,” said my son.

“Well, we do plenty of things that you enjoy that I’m not particularly fond of.  The least you can do is go in with an open mind,” I said.

To my surprise, they did.

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Part of that occurred because I put my “teacher hat” on. Everything became an inquiry. Where do you think the auditorium is? What do you think “will call” means? What kinds of music do you think they’ll play? Who can find row S, seats 2, 3, and 4? Do you think they will do other things besides play instruments? What kind of music do you like? What instruments do you think they’ll play?  (Whew!  Was I working it?!)

My kids were excited and for good reason. We attended a concert at a nearby high school but the performers were professional musicians. They were the Dallas Brass. Not only were they exceptional. They were also funny, involved the audience , and invited both middle school and high school students to join them on stage as well!

It started to dawn on me partway through the concert. Unity. Right before my very eyes. Band members breathing in unison, following the tip of the conductor’s baton as if they shared just one set of eyes, instruments in beautiful intonation, rhythms in sync with each other and an audience unified by the joy of music. There were times we were sang in unity (yes, the entire audience) and other times were danced, clapped, or cheered as the bang began swinging together!

My kids tease me because I get emotional.  I used to be a music teacher and can’t wait to do it again. Once you find something you love, it is truly a part of you.

If you run, there is unity in the way your body moves – the balance of your body, the length of your stride, the evenness of your breathing.

If you cook there is unity in the kitchen – measuring ingredients, chopping with precision, and finishing with beautiful details.

If you love DIY, there is unity in symmetry of design, detailed planning, and polish in finishing touches.

Pick an analogy. UNITY is everywhere…if we allow ourselves to see it, accept it and welcome it into our lives.

Life is too challenging to worry about the negative. Don’t do it.

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“So what did you think?”, I asked.

“I loved it mom! It was awesome! Juan was my favorite! When can we do this again?”, my children said.

Ahhh…the joy in the unity of my family, whom I cherish. I couldn’t be more thankful for life’s small opportunities to celebrate our unity as mom, son, and daughter.

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Author: karenwoodedu

Karen Wood is the Superintendent of Schools in Barnegat, NJ. With twenty-three years in education, Ms. Wood's career has been spent primarily in administration. She enjoys mentoring novice administrators and being connected to inspirational educators and leaders across the country.

One thought on “Unity”

  1. What a neat perspective! The activity would have produced family unity either way (your children saw that they can please mom as she pleases them at times), but it was an added bonus that you made the experience an adventure,AND the kids loved the concert. I am already thinking how I can apply this analogy, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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