The months of November and December are affectionately referred to by many as the Season of Giving. Well, it’s January now, and I find myself wondering what the implications on our society would be if we extended the season of giving and had the same mentality all year long.

As we embrace the New Year, and make our resolutions for 2013, let’s work together to prepare our students to thrive in a complex and interdependent world by giving them the following gifts as often as possible:

The Gift Of…

  • Independence and Responsibility

We need to release control and allow our children the opportunity to own their journey. This may mean they may stumble and face some challenges, but the experiences of working past those difficult moments will prove to be more beneficial for them in the long run than any joyful success they may encounter. What are we currently doing for our children that they can do for themselves?

  • High Expectations

As we look to release responsibility to our children, we need to set high expectations for their success, and believe it is possible for them to reach the established goals. Children will rise to the occasion. Challenge, within reasonable limits, is a motivating factor, and our children will thrive off the knowledge that the adults in their lives have the confidence in them to achieve at such a high level. What goals can we help our children set, and how can we support them as they strive to reach them?

  • Undivided Attention and Time from Adults

We need to turn off our electronic devices and press pause on our own daily tasks in order to be in the moment with our children. Our children deserve to know they are the most important thing in our lives and that they are worthy of our time without disruptions or distractions. They need time to talk to us and for us to actively listen and engage. Is there a time each day we can devote to just “being” with our children?  

  • Unstructured Time to Play and Explore

Our children’s lives are over scheduled and there is little time for them to make independent choices about their play and exploration. Stress and depression are on the rise in our country and we must protect the time children are given to just be kids. Also, success in the future will depend on innovative ideas and designs that come when there are opportunities to be creative. Is there something you can remove from your children’s current schedule to open up some free time?

  • Role Models

We need to model the behaviors we desire to see in our children. Children learn what to say and do by watching and listening to the adults in their lives. If we want our children to read every day, they need to see us reading. If we want our children to lead healthy lives, they need to see us exercising and eating right. If we want our children to embody the Character Tree traits, we need to demonstrate respect, responsibility, compassion, spirit, honor, dedication and courage every day. Is there a habit you need to start or stop doing so your children can learn by example?

Please know that even though I am writing this post and sharing it with the adults in our Lower School community, I am also speaking to myself as a parent and an educator who needs to provide these gifts to our students and my own children. It is the parent in me that really needs to listen to my own advice, as I often find it hard to do what I know is best when I am confronted with the task of applying it to my own children. As parents, I think we have an innate need to protect and care for our child (and see them happy), so we are often blinded to what it is they really need from us.

I am looking forward to the second half of the school year and all the joy I know 2013 will bring to the Ravenscroft community. As we strive to provide these gifts to your children here at school, it is my hope that you will share with us how your “gift giving” goes throughout the year with your own children.

Happy New Year!

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