Wednesday, December 2, 2015

An unexpected resonance

This morning The Davis Academy was overflowing with parents and grandparents who had come for two very different events. Were it not for the fact that they were happening simultaneously I don't the two events would've ever been connected in my mind. But they were simultaneous and they are, for me, connected.

1st grade parents and grandparents gathered for our annual 1st grade home made Chanukiah finishing party. Year after year the creativity never ceases to amaze me. Here are a few pictures I took. While taking them it occurred to me that if you were to gather all the home made Chanukiot made by Davis Academy 1st graders in the last decade you'd have an undeniably compelling and authentic view of American Judaism in the world today. You'd also have at least a few projects made of perishable goods that wouldn't smell too good. And some that hopefully are never actually put to use because of their highly flammable components. Here are a few pictures from this morning:

At the same time as the 1st grade program our Student Support Team hosted a meeting on the topic of the phenomenon of childhood and adolescent anxiety. The featured speaker was Dr. Josh Spitalnick. During his remarks he praised The Davis Academy for our commitment to caring for the whole child by the richness of our support providing students with various layers of proactive intentional support in the form of guidance counselors and learning specialists.

So what do these two events have in common aside from the fact that they both took place at the same time at The Davis Academy this morning? The commonality in my mind, has to do with light. As a ritual object, the Chanukiah's primary purpose is to help bring light to the darkness. The Chanukiah is a symbol of hope, strength, perseverance and faith. By creating new and original Chanukiot, Davis Academy students are increasingly the likelihood (both literally and figuratively) that there will be more light in the world. But because they're 1st graders, they need their parents and grandparents help in this special light bringing initiative.

"Light" was also a theme in the Student Support Team meeting. Understanding how to help our own children and other children learn how to live in an anxious and sometimes harrowing world is no different than the process of helping children build Chanukiot. Just as our children need help operating the glue gun and carving the wood, so too do they need help understanding their emotions and learning how to manage anxiety, worry, and a host of other potentially challenging emotions. Instead of glue guns and hardware the Student Support meeting offered tools, strategies, and insights. Instead of the vehicle for light being the Chanukiah, the vehicle for light was the child. 

What do you think? Am I reaching too far? If you think so, pause and consider the fact that you didn't have the experience of attending both these events!!!!!

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