I recently read Jane Goodall’s memoir The Book of Hope which focuses on her remarkable life, 60 years after the celebrated scientist and activist began her ground-breaking research of chimpanzees in Gombe, Tanzania.  In the book, Jane focuses on her Reasons for Hope, including the Human Intellect, the Resilience of Nature, the Power of Young People, and the Indomitable Human Spirit. In the final words of the book, Jane encourages us to “find reasons for hope and let them guide you onward.”

Hope is an optimistic state of mind, based upon an expectation of positive outcomes of events and circumstances in one’s life or in the world. Research shows that hope has an impact on emotional wellbeing, and one’s level of hope can predict future anxiety and depression. 

The latest news out of the Middle East, the global pandemic, Ukraine – it is all too much for the human brain to process. I am finding that hope is what is making me feel less anxious. Hope comes to us from unexpected places, and also familiar places. 

Recently, I have felt great hope from my husband’s doctors. We are encouraged by knowledgeable experts who have given us three options for treatment, and shared information that none of his former doctors did. When you can trust your healthcare provider, hope is healing. 

No event is filled with more hope than a family wedding. I have spent the past year as Mother of the Bride. My daughter’s wedding a short time ago was nothing short of magical. The look in her eyes, together with her radiant smile, will stay in my heart forever. As Kelsy and Steven recited their vows, looking deeply into each other’s souls, I felt a tide of hope rising in me. The future is indeed bright.

I had the honor and privilege to chair an accreditation at a wonderful school similar to mine recently. This professional learning opportunity was also a very hopeful experience. All schools are great in many different ways as they embrace and advance their unique mission. And, at the same time, all schools want to find ways to improve. This gives me great hope in the power of education to transform lives, and ultimately, the world. 

Each and every day, I feel hopeful as I engage with the students at Kent School. In their faces, I find hope for our fractured world and great joy in the rewarding work that I do and love. Independent schools are inherently hopeful places. I agree with Jane Goodall, harnessing the hopeful power of young people is the path forward. And, I am convinced, now more than ever, that the world needs our students to lead with empathy and authenticity in our complex world.

In my travels on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, I sometimes drive past an exit for Hope Road in Centreville, off of Route 213N. I pass it often, but have never taken it. I wonder where the road goes, and why it is named Hope. If ever there was a time in our world when we needed to drive down Hope Road, it is right now.