Once again it’s all around me. I can feel the fervor in the air. It’s nearly catching!
The ‘Christmas spirit’ is sometimes misinterpreted to require a wildness which seems contradictory to the very ideas of Christmas. Some seem to take it as rushing, shopping, breathlessly meeting more and more deadlines, and accepting only positive feelings for several weeks in a row!
I learned the distinction one year while putting away classroom Christmas decorations and holiday lesson materials.
I flinched in sudden dismay at the realization that I had omitted a favorite lesson! I just must have overlooked that particular folder when pulling out holiday activities.
For a moment I stood there with the drawer open, heartbroken. Then I tuned into my inner voice which happened to notice that this year had been simply marvelous in our classroom.
As I thought it over, I figured out that the students had learned and thrived during our December studies. Not only did they excel in scholastic efforts, they even seemed to grow in human kindness. What could have been better?
I smiled to myself and captured a bit of wisdom which I’ve treasured each year since then. Each Christmas or other special occasion can be different, but still may be fine. This applies to one’s personal observances as well as in the school or community.
One year during the Gulf War I saw an Arab, black, Jew, and Southern white choose to sit at the same table at our classroom party. I took a deep breath of contentment that peace is possible and real, here and now.
Another year I typed up lots of songs and children’s fluency scores rose after a month of singing together. Their confidence and positive memories about school and themselves as learners also skyrocketed.
I learned to cherish past memories without demanding to repeat them, letting each new season unfold naturally. The insight gained from the open drawer was that it doesn’t have to be perfect, or the same as last year, to be simply wonderful!