Posted by Micheal O'Brien at 12/8/2016
The meaning of the Holiday Season varies from culture to culture, family to family, and person to person. It is influenced by our past experiences and what we determine to be important. It can even be impacted by what is happening in our complex lives both personally and professionally.
The school setting represents many of the possible perceptions for the holidays. The elementary students are excited about everything: wearing antlers and Santa hats, painting their noses red, sitting on Santa’s lap and getting gifts. The secondary students are less excited about those “elementary” things and more excited about being off school, getting gifts, and “hanging out” with family and friends. The adults are ready for it all to be over. Yes, there is excitement but the energy and time to ensure that family needs are addressed can be exhausting.
Gatherings of family and friends sharing food, stories and laughs are an integral part of the holidays. There are thoughts of loved ones, especially those that aren’t with us. It is also a time to be thankful for what we have been given and the many blessings that we enjoy.
As superintendent, I started reflecting on what is important, a “wish list” of sorts, for all of our students, regardless of age, as we engage in traditional holiday activities and await the coming of 2017. It may not seem like a normal “superintendent” activity but my thoughts came as a result of observations of classrooms and after-school activities. Below you will see my “wish list” for our students as we enjoy the upcoming season and prepare for 2017:
The absence of these five attributes is often at the root of many societal issues. We have recently witnessed people destroying property, burning cars and buildings, using divisive rhetoric, physically assaulting others, killing police officers and disrespecting our country’s history and processes. I don’t believe they have internalized or developed the concepts on the wish list!
Obviously, the development of an individual is a complex process and has a profound impact on the “collective” social behavior of the human race. As we celebrate Christmas, New Years and other holidays, I hope that our students develop the self-confidence and desire to learn, which provides them with hope for the future and peace of mind, resulting in a healthy respect and love for themselves and others.