A Message from Mr. Vandemark 2-13-2020

Greetings Morse Families!

I was born a redhead – you may not be able to tell now, but I had bright, burnt orange hair growing up, often called “Carrot Top”. At one point I rocked a Shaun Cassidy hair-do and another time sported a mullet. Both sad, both true. And yes, the redhead stereotypes applied to me in my younger years. Quick temper? Check! Fiery tongue? Check! Rousing this poked bear was risky — at any given point I might have bubbled over with excitement or boiled with rage. I was voted “One of the Most Outspoken” my senior year of high school, wearing my brash and brazen verbal reputation as a badge of honor, saying practically anything I wanted — at any time I wanted. I actually considered it my prerogative. Oh, the follies of youth…

Circumstances, instead of a good conscience, long dictated my response to whatever or whoever was around me. The idea to just “let live and let go” never crossed my mind. Instead, I spouted whatever popped into my head, ignoring the impact my words had on others and the damage they were to my testimony. I needed and wanted to change. It wasn't until I began to “P.A.U.S.E.” that my relationships gradually improved, and the chains of hostility that bound my heart began to fall away.

What does it mean to “P.A.U.S.E.”?

 Practice Patience
Patience does not come naturally for most; we want what we want, and we want it yesterday. Waiting a few moments to react and remaining patient throughout an encounter can prevent a lifetime of regret.

Adjust our Attitude
A shift in perspective or change in attitude makes a world of difference in how we approach a situation. Instead of fists up, let’s open up and be willing to extend the olive branch now and again. We may not be able to control what happens to us, but we can control our response.

Understand the Situation
Shamefully, I frequently inserted myself into situations without knowing all the facts. Before pouncing on a perceived injustice, we must examine all the angles, evaluate the facts, and sift out opinions and assumptions from the truth of the matter. Doing so diffuses potentially explosive speech that causes unnecessary offenses.

Step Outside
Going outdoors works wonders; it immediately lifts my mood. Fresh air is like a balm that soothes a tumultuous temper. Perhaps stepping outdoors is not always an option, but try to remove yourself from the situation. A physical step back often provides mental clarity and emotional stability.

Explain Calmly
Unfortunately, during conflict, rational thought frequently succumbs to negative emotion, making it difficult to form an appropriate response. Take time to calm down while employing the aforementioned strategies.

Running through these five steps, even if it’s only one, can help us dial back our emotions and adjust our attitude before we say something we’ll regret. I confess that in the past because of pride and arrogance, I inserted unwelcomed opinions and insisted on having the last word, severing many relationships as a result. I no longer want to be that person. Next time you find yourself in a situation where tensions are high, tempers are hot and tongues are heated, consider a “P.A.U.S.E.”

Now let me follow with the “Best Thing(s) Mr. V Saw At Morse This Week”: 

  • What a way to start the week: As I was greeting students Monday morning outside at arrival, I observed students smiling warmly at me, using eye contact to give me a genuine “Hello” or “Good Morning, Mr. V”, as well as entering the building by moving with purpose and being kind to one another. I then witnessed the following – a student upon entering the building, holding the door several students AND using eye contact and a kind greeting to each. That student continued to do so until another student stepped forward to take “door duty”. The “door baton” was passed from student to student, each of the three mornings. My question is…Do you see this translating to home, with car doors, or out in public such as at stores or restaurants?!


We are student centered and community strong – we are Morse!

Advocating for Students,

Steve Vandemark, principal


In addition, if you would like to keep up with upcoming events at Morse, simply click on the following link: https://district.bluevalleyk12.org/schools/elementary/mor/Pages/home.aspx


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