Monday, December 24, 2012

The Beginning of the World...

So Friday December 21, 2012 came and went. It was the day before vacation. At Charlton Heights, kids came to school in their pajamas. Some “read the day away.” Some cooked food that helped them to bring cultural stories to life. At O’Rourke Mrs. Shell's students acted out the trial scene from “To Kill a Mockingbird.” At the High School Madame Noll's kids translated French carols. A group of talented individuals played the role of various 18th Century giants of philosophy, economics, and religion as part of Mr. Turner's Enlightenment Dinner.  At Stevens Elementary, kids made personal gifts to give to parents and other loved ones. At Pashley, they practiced carols and gathered as a whole school in the cafeteria to sing together with their teachers and celebrate their school spirit and the coming Holiday.

The Mayans predicted the world would end on Friday. The events of previous weeks seemed to reinforce the impending doom. The days were at their darkest… Both on the calendar and in current events.  Our community lost an Olympic hero. Neighboring districts lost beloved students in a senseless accident. Tragedy in Connecticut tore at our hearts. Fears arose over school security. The media battered us with endless political bickering over the “fiscal cliff.” Like our ancestors who noticed the daylight diminishing and the cold creeping in, it was tempting to let the events around us darken our days and diminish our hope…

and yet, when the Grinch put his hand to his ear…
he DID hear a sound rising over the snow.
It started in low.  Then it started to grow...  
But the sound wasn't sad! Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn't be so! But it WAS merry!  VERY!         
He stared down at Who-ville!        
The Grinch popped his eyes!        
Then he shook!        
What he saw was a shocking surprise! 
Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small, Was singing! 
Without any presents at all! 
He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming!
Somehow or other, it came just the same! -Dr. Seuss                                 

Friday we learned that the world would not end.  Saturday morning brought a dusting of snow and a sense of peace as BH-BL regrouped with families and loved ones to celebrate the holidays and prepare for the New Year. The world is not ending... In fact, for our kids- the world is just beginning…

Let’s not forget how critical that message is. The world… for our kids… is just beginning. To counter the doom and gloom they are bombarded with by society, we offer them knowledge… we offer them inspiration… we offer them hope.  Each day, when they sit in our classrooms, walk in our hallways, ride our buses, eat in our cafeterias and play on our teams… we remind them that they can be anything, do anything, change anything that they set their minds and their energies to. Winning State Championships, competing for science awards, and performing in incredible concerts are just a taste of what can lie ahead!

The celebrations of Hanukkah and Christmas were placed in the calendar here in late December to remind us that, in the midst of the darkest days of the year, there is light… there is hope… Faith, optimism, and love, all unique to the human spirit,  take us through the toughest times together. As we head into a brand new year, the days are getting longer. The daylight is increasing. It is our job to bring that same message of light and hope to our kids.

Thank you for welcoming me into the BH-BL community these past six months. Enjoy this Holiday time with your families. As we return in January, lets hope that the darkest days are behind us. The days are growing brighter. The world of the students looking at us each day is just beginning. My hope and prayer for all of us in 2013 is captured in the lyrics of the Goo Goo Dolls song Better Days…

And you asked me what I want this year
And I try to make this kind and clear
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days
'cause I don't need boxes wrapped in strings
And designer love and empty things
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days

So take these words and sing out loud
'cause everyone is forgiven now
'cause tonight's the night the world begins again

I need some place simple where we could live
And something only you can give
And that's faith and trust and peace while we're alive
And the one poor child who saved this world
And there's ten million more who probably could
If we all just stopped and said a prayer for them

I wish everyone was loved tonight
And somehow stop this endless fight
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days

Here’s to a world that begins again in 2013…