Principal John Williams

Photo by Nivedha Meyyappan

What fears do you have?

I think we all have a lot of the same kinds of fears: fears of getting old and not being healthy, fears that something will happen to someone you love. Those are kind of natural fears. I have a little bit of a fear of heights.

Do you believe in Friday the 13th?

I think about those things. I don’t do anything differently. I wouldn’t not buy a house on Friday the 13th or not get on a plane, but I think about them. If something happens, I think, ‘Oh gosh, it’s Friday the 13th.’ I would never not do something on Friday the 13th because it might not turn out well.

I don’t think I’ve ever been paranoid, at least I hope not. When I try and think about worrying, whether you call it paranoia or fretting about something, I ask, ‘Does it impact your life? Does it change what you do?’ Do you not take a trip because you worry you might have an accident? Do you not go out with somebody because you’re worried they might break up with you? There are so many things that we could not do because we worry something might happen. I don’t sky dive because I would be worried plus I don’t want to sky dive that much. But I think what you have to do is make sure that (the) worry doesn’t impact your life. When you talk of paranoia, people who suffer from that, it impacts their life. That’s a whole other topic. No, I don’t think I’m ever paranoid about anything. I hope that I don’t ever let worry hold me back from things I should be doing or would be wonderful to do. I worry now about, as I get older and reach retirement: will I have the money to retire, but at the same time I’m not going to not go vacationing with my wife because I’ll have more money when I’m 80.

Do you have any superstitions?

My mom was very superstitious. She had a lot of things, like if you knocked over the salt on the table, you take some and throw it over your left shoulder. If you left the house and you forgot something and had to go back to get it, you had to sit down and make a wish. You couldn’t just go back and get it and then leave the house again. My mom was raised Catholic, and if you were trying to sell your house, you would get a statue of St. Joseph and bury it in your backyard, and supposedly your house would sell. I grew up with a lot of superstitions. I don’t practice any of those.

How do you deal with the pressures of your job?

I don’t really do anything specifically. Sometimes when I’m under a lot of pressure, I eat too much. I’m a stress-eater. I talk to people; that relieves pressure for me. My wife and I have lots of conversations about what she does and what I do, and that helps. Talking to people about the pressures of the job and things that are going on seem to help. I read a lot of fiction novels. That kind of eases the night out. I read almost every night. I go into the world of whatever novel I’m reading. It helps.

What do you worry about?

My philosophy’s always been: ‘If there’s something out there, try to fix it and move on.’ Everybody worries about their health, their family and people they love, and I worry about Carmel High School and kids that go here and teachers and all that stuff. When you say worry, I don’t chew my fingernails off or can’t sleep at night. That kind of stuff is in the back of your mind all the time. When you get a phone call at 2 in the morning, you think someone’s been in an accident or someone got hurt, but as far as fretting about it, I don’t. I have this belief that if you really try to do the right things, things will end up exactly where they’re supposed to be, and I believe that there’s a plan that I’m not in control of. My responsibility is just to get up every morning and just do the best I can. Sometimes the best I can do is struggling through the day. Sometimes it’s lighting the world on fire. Things will happen – some really amazing things and some really scary and terrible things, and our job is to react to those, to handle those, to try to be as proactive as we can and then celebrate the great things that happen to us and deal with and get past the tough things. That’s what our life is.

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About the Author

Sreeti Ravi