“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
We are now officially in the height of the holiday season but most of us will not be celebrating as we normally do. We are all nourished by tradition but, children, in particular, build important foundational security on the repetition of cherished rituals. The holidays mean parties, friends, and extended family. They mean laughter, hugging, sitting shoulder to shoulder at a candle lit table.
How do we make this year, this strange and unprecedented year, a time of peace, joy, and hope for our children? How do we rise to the challenge and the opportunity to learn to express our love in new and different ways?
I believe that the most important idea to convey to school age children is that we are celebrating differently this year precisely because we love our friends and family. We love them so much that we want to be absolutely certain that we do not put them in harms’ way. No matter what is said, children, with their innate emotional intelligence, are adept at seeing beyond words. In the innocent gaze of a child we see our reflection. Children lift us through their need for us to lift them. This is one of the many blessings of being responsible for children.
Children look to us to be their guides through this brambly world. We know, with our years behind us, that there is daylight and starlight above the densest of forests, but children don’t know this. Knowing that time will bring change and that hope is sustaining are realizations that only maturity can bring.
This year we can soothe our children by embracing the intimacy and simplicity that this time demands, by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and, in this allowance, showing trust. Teach the wisdom of knowing that we are in the throes of something beyond our control and must adjust our sails and travel on. Teach them to understand what giving really means and the joy that comes with giving from your heart.
This year is a perfect time to try to forget our own problems for the moment and remember others less fortunate. Does counting blessings sound haplessly cliché? Try it. You’ll be surprised. And have your children try it, too.
It is also a perfect time to reflect on gratitude for what we have, not what we will get. To embrace simple pleasures – walking around the block to look at birds and clouds, planting nasturtiums seeds (they sprout quickly), cooking, or reading side by side.
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour.”
It is a perfect year for children to experience the transience of time in a visceral way. To let them know that they are living history-that one day they will tell their own children that they were part of the great global pandemic of 2020.
Take this opportunity to discuss hardships that people through the ages have experienced, and how they worked to overcome tremendous difficulties. Discuss the importance of science! Let your children know that scientists and doctors all over the world have worked together to discover a vaccine that will help the Corona Virus disappear. Inherent is a great message of a global connection that this virus brings to the forefront. That we are all in this together (as we are all in this together in every other way, one might add) and that only by working together can we fix it. What a beautiful lesson in the brotherhood of man.
So, this year we may not be able to sit our children on Santa’s lap, fight crowds at the airport, stand in long lines at the mall, get caught in holiday traffic, or wait forever in a crowded restaurant for a table….Hmm, actually, that’s not so bad. Let’s bake some cookies, light a fire, and read about flying reindeer.
Classic Holiday Books:
The Polar Express – Chris Van Allsburg
The Wish Tree – Kyo Maclear
Great Joy – Kate DiCamillo
Snowmen at Christmas – Mark Buehner
The Snowy Day – Ezra Jack Keats
How The Grinch Stole Christmas – Dr. Seuss
Let’s Celebrate-Special Days Around The World – Kate DePalma
The Snowman – Raymond Briggs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5A3THighARU
BE SAFE * WEAR A MASK