Beneath every well-loved swing set are bare troughs grooved by myriad little feet, alternatively pushing off or braking against the abraded ground. There was rain in the early morning hours on Monday, and as I walked past the Beasley playground before school, I admired one of our students doing his best cartoon run-in-place imitation, swinging his legs frenetically above a perfect mud puddle. Suddenly, he planted both feet in it with all the energy he could summon. The resulting splash must have reached to his waist. Then he repeated the act—“running” above the puddle, then sticking the landing—several times. It might have made for a very long morning for his teacher, but the sight marked a wonderful beginning to my own day.
Life at MICDS is replete with such accidental joys. On Tuesday, I walked with our senior kindergarten students along the path to the Steward Aquatic Center. Land-speed records are perfectly safe from that crowd. There was a distance of about 100 feet between a few stragglers and the rest of the group. I started jogging backwards. “You can’t catch me! I’m too fast for you! And I’m so old!!” They burst into a sprint to pass me.
On the sidelines of a baseball game that afternoon in front of a group of seniors, I pretended to take a call from Scott Small, our Head of Upper School. “Oh no!” I said, louder than anyone ever actually would. “Do we have any replacements? How do you lose 50 diplomas?” One of them got a little wide-eyed. Another one said, “You’re pranking us!” I pointed to the phone. “He says we didn’t lose any of the important ones.” No more wide eyes. “Ha ha ha, Mr. Rainey. Nice try.”
Yesterday I had lunch with some seventh graders. “This is the best food all year,” one of them said. (Ribs were on the menu.) I asked whether they were excited for the summer. Strong show of hands. I asked what their plans were. “Camp,” said one, and then another concurred. “Maybe I will go to camp,” said a third, at which point the entire table took up the question of whether every camp in the United States is already completely booked. Strong opinions abounded. The phrase “often wrong, never in doubt” came to mind.
This week was full of small exchanges of joy at MICDS. Every week is full of them here—friendly smiles, good-natured teasing, fist bumps, laughter, little conversations. We practiced for Commencement yesterday. Members of the Class of 2023 came to the podium one by one to rehearse the acceptance of their diplomas: the approach, the greeting, the receipt, the photograph, the departure. One of them shook my hand overzealously. “Pleasure to meet you.”
“The world is full of obvious things,” wrote Arthur Conan Doyle, “which nobody by any chance ever observes.” Happiness evinces itself constantly if we will only see it. Always reason, always compassion, always courage. Happy graduation weekend to our seniors and their families, and happy Mother’s Day! I will look forward to seeing you next week if not sooner.
Head of School