Monday, December 19, 2016

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

At least, that's what it's supposed to be, right?  The "most" wonderful time of the year?  While for many this is true, there are too many for whom this is simply not the case.

This time of year is particularly challenging for those of us who have chosen education as our profession.  The time between the Thanksgiving break and the December Holiday break is quite difficult.  It is a number of weeks, book-ended by vacations in which educators, and those dedicated individuals who work with us in schools, are dared to bring some sense of normalcy into a time of the year that is anything but.  It is the "most" wonderful time of the year, right?

This time of year is particularly challenging for those who have uncomfortable family dynamics.  Everything we see on TV and hear on the radio is about the perfect family dinner, the perfect gift, the perfect holiday celebration.  For some families, just getting in the same room together is incredibly hard given the relationships.  That would be a gift in and of itself.  It gives an alternative interpretation on what the "most" wonderful time of the year is.

This time of year is particularly challenging for those who struggle to make ends meet, or for those families who simply are overwhelmed by the poverty they face.  While some are trying to figure out the "most" unique gift to buy, many families are wondering if they will have heat, hot water, and food.  While some of the students we know are excitedly anticipating the coming vacation, many others are worried about where they will find a warm place with something to eat regularly.  That cannot be the "most" wonderful time of the year.

Might I suggest that we put our efforts toward kindness this time of year?  Toward our students, toward our colleagues, toward our families, toward each other.  During a poignant reflection I heard this weekend on the coming winter solstice, the woman delivering the reflection used a beautiful quote from Mother Teresa: "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."  Perhaps kindness and peace can transcend the many realities of what the "most" wonderful time of the year looks like for everyone in our lives.

Finally, I came across this image this week and it expresses my sentiments for the MPS Faculty, Staff, Students, Families, and Community.

I truly hope that you all can feel happy, safe, and loved this holiday season.  If that is the case, then it will go a long way to making it the most wonderful time of the year for me.

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