“Hope is like the sun, which as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.” – Samuel Smiles
Encouraging words and a positive quote like this, is an example of the phrases found in the newly posted “Take What You Need” board in the St. Joseph’s Indian School elementary hallway.
Many people, St. Joseph’s staff and Lakota students included, fight invisible battles. It might be worry for the future, sadness from the past or guilt about the present.
To serve as a silent friend, the board was posted after Sharmel, St. Joseph’s principal, saw a similar idea online.
“I thought it was a great and easy way for students, staff or visitors to get words of encouragement,” she said. “We all need something sometimes, and we are working on helping each other, by taking care of each other.”
Sharmel said social-emotional needs are a key component to taking care of ourselves – believing we matter and what we do matters. The more we can share words of encouragement, the better.
The board rests in a main hallway down from the school office. It features nine envelopes, each with a different topic: faith, humility, kindness, hope, love, patience, confidence, self-control and peace.
“Those traits are what most people seek. They want hope, are looking for love or self-confidence, or just need peace,” said Sharmel. “If a student is having a tough day – maybe they are stressing about a situation in their reservation community, or something simpler like a math test – they can go to the board for whatever they need.”
It’s a small thing – a project like this – but sometimes the biggest changes can occur after the smallest of gestures. It’s our hope this board can serve a little bit like the sun Mr. Smiles was talking about, and help cast the burdens of students and staff into the shadows.
We pray whatever you are searching for – be it faith, humility, kindness, hope, love, patience, confidence, self-control or peace – that the Great Spirit guides you in your journey.