Comfort Zone ~ No Parking

From time to time, I get Dear-Abby-style notes from readers, who share their heartbeats and ask for me to help them process, reflect and resolve. This past Monday, I got a note from a reader I've never met, who was hurting about the news that she's being transferred from her elementary school to the high school. 
Her heart and soul, she shared with me, is counseling her littles. 
And she wondered if I had ever been in that situation.
 Then she asked me what I would do. 
I thought about this poster I created years ago for my office ...

... and then I offered support with these words:

I'm sad that you're being transferred, but I have to wonder if maybe they need your enthusiasm, passion and drive in the HS where you're going. Will some of the kids whom you've influenced in elementary attend that same HS? I know you won't be able to do the lessons, but your work in character ed is by NO way, shape or form done, just because you're going to work with bigger kids ... and maybe the faculty at the HS needs you?  

If you know me, you know that it's my nature to look for the positives.  If the answer is NO to all of those aforementioned possibilities, then absolutely find somewhere that you'll use your passions to their fullest ... if your heart is with elementary and only elementary, then don't settle for HS. I began my career working with teenagers and believe me, you have to want to work with them!

Know that I'm pulling for you in whatever you choose to do. Wherever you go, go with all your heart. It frustrates me for you that you're being transferred without a voice, but I do know of places that intentionally do that, to spread the wealth, to keep things fresh, to keep people guessing. Do I think it's the best practice? Probably not the way I'd do it, but it's a practice that seems to have some teeth with some administrations.

Pray about it. Write a pros and cons page. Keep bouncing feelings off of other counselors who are in the trenches with you. Lord knows we need to seek out (and align with) those good counselors in the trenches with us!

Thanks for reaching out to me ... I'm lucky to not have ever been in your position, being transferred beyond my control ... but I can imagine it doesn't feel that good right now. Keep on breathing and having courageous conversations with people who are making these decisions so that you don't just disappear without explaining what this experience is like for you and why.

One caution: While it is nice to work in a place where you are appreciated and affirmed, it's also important to work in a place where you're needed. I can't help but think that you're being called out of your comfort zone for a reason ... or maybe I'm just talking to myself ... my dad taught me long ago to ask: Am I running from or running toward?

If you're running toward, run freely, my friend. If you're running away, don't leave any stones unturned.

I signed my name and clicked send. 

And fewer than 24 hours later, on Tuesday afternoon, in an incredibly ironic 
{and providential?} twist, I was sitting with my administration, hearing words like 
full-time unit and shift and transfer and finish strong! 
Wait, what? I'm transferring
To another building? 
To another school family? 
Out of my comfort zone?

When doors close, windows open. And so, dear reader, today I am in need of your positive thoughts, warm energy and prayers for clarity and peace, because I'm moving out of that no-parking zone, where I've enjoyed an extended stay for 14 glorious years. Where my heart and soul are. Where my school family is.

I'm excited to see what possibilities unfold ahead and 
I will keep you posted as I move forward.


  1. Here's what I know: Wherever you go, you will touch the minds and hearts of kids. How lucky they will be to learn from you and to trust you with their thoughts and feelings.

    Hey! If the ink is not yet dry... How about a transfer to California?!

    Sending lots of positive thoughts and warm wishes...

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  2. My dear JOYful friend, You have NO idea how tempting your offer to transfer to CA sounds right now, but remember my dad's words about running away ... no, I must stay here and figure out what's right for me and my family. If what the future holds offers me more free time, look for me to visit more! Thank you for your words of encouragement and affirmation.

  3. Wherever you go, you will continue to bring a positive change into the lives of the youth that you work with.

  4. Oh what a shock! You are such a positive person, I've no doubt you will (are already?) making your list of pros that this transfer brings. Every year I worry about being transferred, too, and I just pray and trust that God will put me where He wants me and that I will rise to the challenge set before me (but still hope I can stay at my current school!). I can tell you that the school that is "getting you" is BLESSED and will be so THRILLED to benefit from your influence! It is good that you are aware of the transfer before school is out so that you can have closure with students, families and staff. Prayers of strength and a gentle push to help you "run toward" your new opportunity!

  5. I too am transferring next year. I'm leaving my elementary school where I've been for 6 years and filling in for a counselor who is taking a leave for a year. I'm heartbroken but I will continue on and will continue to build those nurturing and caring relationship our students need.


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!

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