Okay

In a classic Simpsons episode, Chief Wiggum implores a group of onlookers that “there’s nothing to see here” before he turns around to see what the huddled masses are gawking at and invites them to “get a load of this flaming wreckage.” At the time, I remember laughing out loud. Now, Chief Wiggum, a most unlikely source, provides us with valuable leadership advice.

In an often chaotic world, be the constant your staff and students need by reacting the same way despite the circumstance. What comes after that initial reaction will change, but providing unflappable stability creates a sense of calm before any storm.

The mad pooper has struck again. This time she smeared it to spell out HI.

Okay.

I have no idea who this person is who is coming to pick up Naheem; we can’t let her take him because she’s not on our record.

Okay.

This group is the most challenging I’ve ever worked with. I know I can do it. I just need your help.

Okay.

We haven’t heard from Cal or his family in six days. I think we should call the police.

Okay.

Mrs. A would like us to bring in a gender clinician from CHOP to talk to our staff about Mallory’s transition.

Okay.

We didn’t hear the evacuation drill announcement in the APR. That’s not good.

Okay.

My ex is drinking again, and I don’t know if I trust him with the kids.

Okay.

My husband and I talked about it, and I am going to stay home with the kids. I love teaching, but I can’t pass up this time with my children.

Okay.

The kids want you to be steady quarterback at recess.

Okay.

I have a parent on the phone who says the lunch lady is mean to her grandson.

Okay.

The superintendent would like you to call him back about an anti-homework parent group petition.

Okay.

Sometimes your “okay” will come with hard-to-veil heartbreak, sometimes your “okay” will come with a toothy smile, sometimes your “okay” will sound robotic, sometimes your “okay” will sound melodic.

More often than not, people should walk away from their conversations with you feeling like everything is going to be okay, and if it’s not now, it will be soon.

Okay?