“Mr. van Eerden is quitting. He won’t be there on Monday!” That was the message that went home to one family, even though I specifically said at chapel that morning that I would be principal until they finished the grade they were in right now. Mom was very happy to receive an email from me.

Or “We saw who the new principal is going to be. Mr. van Eerden was taking him around the school.” This after I specifically said they couldn’t ask because we didn’t know yet.

But mostly the students just make me laugh, or at least smile, watching them play with such exuberance and the excitement they have when they say, “Mr. van Eerden, do you want to see our routine,” or “Look at what we made.” That is a big part of the reason I try to take every opportunity to walk around the school or go out on the playground during breaks.

Being with kids feeds my soul.

The past week or so has been particularly encouraging as students have shared some very kind words and thanked me. I have felt very blessed. For most of the time that has been the case in my 26 years at ACS. The top banner photo is from my grade 5 class in my first year at ACS. This same class painted me green after we finished reading The Secret World of Og. If you don’t know that book, you should read it.

I have also had some very kind words and expressions of gratitude from parents and staff. That helps when I have the inevitable moments of “What have I done?!” I am extremely grateful for the supportive community that ACS is, and always has been.

Grace Upon Grace

This is starting to sound like a farewell blog and it is far too early for that. Still, I can’t keep the gratitude I feel inside. I think what is most remarkable is the clear direction I have felt in processing this decision and that, in the end, I know this is my decision by the grace of God. There is no “real story,” or hidden agenda. I own this decision with confidence that it is right and there are many opportunities for me in the future. I just don’t know exactly which ones will become real. It is so freeing to have open conversations with people who ask me how I am doing and how I feel about stepping down.

I guess there is not much more to say at this point. That makes this probably one of the shortest blogs I’ve written, but I needed an outlet for the deep gratitude I am feeling. It fits with the new tradition we started this year to end our chapels. After I sing the blessing, we say responsively, God is good, all the time; all the time, God is good. At one of our next chapels I plan to share the story of the person who made those words so meaningful to me and why I wanted to start that tradition.

Right now, as I write this, I am looking forward to the second evening of Parent Teacher conferences and the great conversations that always happen on those evenings. Before that, however, I have time to go outside as kids get dismissed for the day.

I can always use another laugh.