I hope that my first column of the decade finds each of you eagerly embracing the promise of a new year. And, however you rang in 2020, I hope that the idea of a new year inspired equal doses of reflection and aspiration for you. Faced with the state of our world–tensions flaring in the Middle East, wildfires raging across Australia, an impeachment process boiling on Capitol Hill, and other complicated news igniting nearly everywhere we look–I found myself wrestling with the notion of a New Year’s resolution that would be meaningful and substantive enough to make, yet grounded enough to keep. I sought a resolution that I would commit to keeping longer than the typical six weeks that most resolutions last, and most critically, one that might help me navigate the challenges facing us as we charge into this new decade.
As such, I quickly dispensed with resolutions that I have abandoned in the past–the next great diet or exercise plan will simply have to wait for 2021–and gave thought instead to our students, and the lens through which they see the world. I reflected that as adults, we can sometimes assume that children apply the same lens–an adult one–to their view of the world.
Of course, each family will approach the ways of the world differently, and some of our students are processing global events in real-time right alongside us. But there are others, particularly our youngest learners, for whom the world remains a simple and joyful place. They have adults they trust, friends they can play with, and words that need sounding out. They arrive to BDS, not just in this new year, but every day, with the lens of an optimist, ready to make the most of each moment, untroubled by the challenges that influence our grown-up world. Their worldview is shaped by care, respect, and an enviable abundance of joy.
Indeed, it is enviable enough that I am going to give it a try in 2020. My resolution: to see the world as a child might. Find in it the moments worthy of simple joy. Take time to appreciate the folks in my life who help to make it better. Hold a door. Say please, and thank you. Enjoy a swing. Play. Enjoy a snack from time to time.
By “going small,” I hope to broaden my view, and in the process, be better prepared to meet the challenges of those big moments when the world weighs on all of us–young and not-so-young. And we need to meet those challenges. See, I told you the diet thing wouldn’t have worked.
Have a wonderful 2020, everyone. Happy New Year, and welcome back!
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