It’s here! Can you see it? Can you feel it? Can you hear it?
Friday, September 30, 2016
The Wood Acres School

It is the cadence and rhythm of a school year in place and humming its autumn song as we turn the calendar to October.  Students have found the first acorns on campus, sketched the first fallen leaves, and gazed at the amazing blue sky that arches over our campus.  It feels so good inside and outside of our classrooms. 

And before you know it the perfect trifecta of holidays will soon be upon us occupying the main aisles of stores from Hallmark to Dollar Tree and making October, November, and December filled to the brim with decorations and celebrations.  Woo be the child who has a birthday during these three months as their parties are often overshadowed by the holiday du jour!  While the commercialism of holidays is certainly omnipresent, the intrinsic importance of tradition and ceremony is vital to a child’s development of time, family, and community. 

Dr. Carl Glickman, outstanding Professor Emeritus from the University of Georgia in the field of educational leadership, once spoke on this very topic and made a great impression on me in my developing years as an educational leader.  His writing led me to metacognitively know why I always thought that ceremonies and traditions in the smallest family or the largest school were not “fluff” but critically important to the home and school climate and its ability to embrace its occupants with meaning and memories for a lifetime.

Ceremonies and traditions serve as punctuation marks in our lives.  They make us pause, stop, “be”.  They move us emotionally and spiritually.  They help us tie the past, present, and future together in a way that helps us keep time, reflect, enjoy the moment, and wonder about the future.  These events also help us visually demonstrate values and connections among generations. Ceremonies and traditions bring us together, across miles as well as across periods of absence.  And they open the larder to prepare treats and food, open the boxes to deck the halls and walls with pumpkins, turkeys, menorahs and garland, open the photo albums to visit past ceremonies and make certain the traditions are well preserved.  They make us sing, laugh, smile, cry, look wistfully, and sigh in contentment.  Ceremonies and traditions make the time, energy, effort, planning, and often expense worth it in the long run.  They matter to us.  Remember, where our hearts are, so are our treasures!

So here’s to pumpkin carving, apple bobbing, trick or treating, and candy!  Here’s to turkey and all the trimmings, football, naps, and holiday shopping.  Here’s to stockings hung with care, candlelight services, cookies and milk, dreidels, and gifts from the heart  And here’s to the ceremonies and traditions of the Woods- Meet and Greet, conferences, Rally Round the Flag Constitution Day, Field Day, field trips, book fairs, book buddies, graduation ceremonies, and so much more.  Here’s to our school traditions and ceremonies helping us mark the seasons of the Woods in our hearts and minds.

Judy Thigpen

Article originally appeared on The Wood Acres School (http://woodacresschool.org/).
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