Once a month, the Compelled Tribe of Ed Bloggers has a common theme. This month happens to be traditions as we are preparing for the holiday season. I thought long and hard on this one, because I realized that I don’t have as many family traditions as I wish I had. As a child, I longed for a Thanksgiving and Christmas scene like I thought every child had. The image in my mind for the holidays looked like something from a Norman Rockwell picture. With a dad who was often in the hospital for kidney disease and a mother who worked swing shifts at the hospital as a nurse many holidays, our family traditions often fell short from my ideal. When I grew up, I was bound and determined to make that Norman Rockwell image a reality with my own family. However, a divorce and split custody of my children shattered that dream as well. For many years, I lamented the fact that I would never have a normal holiday with my family. Later I realized, there is no such thing as a normal holiday and that the Norman Rockwell picture was just that…a picture of what people wished for.
I bring this up because many of our students may feel that their home situations are “different” and that no one else could understand their situation. That’s where we step in as educators. Part of our job is to help create school traditions and routines that create a safe, secure, and fun environment for our students, especially during the holiday seasons. More importantly, we need to help them realize that their family traditions or customs are okay and that there is not a perfect or correct way to celebrate the holidays. The older I get, the more I realize that I did have fun holiday traditions with my family. We always ate a meal together (even if it wasn’t on the holiday) and we often watched a movie (usually Ben-Hur for Christmas). When I see old movies playing during the holidays, I often think of my dad and realize we had fun traditions after all. Most importantly, I always felt loved and safe at home. That’s a tradition that I have passed along to my children (even with juggling holiday schedules between two households). So, I guess the most important tradition of all…being together and being happy as a family is a legacy that has been passed on from one generation to another.
As educators, our students may have many traditions or no traditions at all. But we can help make traditions and memories here and we can certainly make sure they feel safe and loved while at school. The hugs you give, the smiles you share, and the words of encouragement you express may be the one thing they hold on to during their holiday season. Let’s make sure that with all the traditions we have at school that kindness, patience, and empathy are woven into each of them and demonstrated to all students.
“Traditions are our roots and a profile of who we are as individuals and who we are as a family.” – Lidia Bastianich
“I prefer to choose which traditions to keep and which to let go.” – Theodore Bikel
“Ritual is important to us as human beings. It ties us to our traditions and our histories.” – Miller Williams
- Monday, December 17: Students of the Month Assembly 9:05 AM, AT Meeting (Jones) 2:35 PM, PTA Luncheon in the lounge
- Tuesday, December 18: IEP (Tanner) 8:15 AM, Achievement Team (Stromberg) at 2:35 PM
- Wednesday, December 19: Pizza Party with the Principal 12:10-1:00 PM in East Commons (Top Sellers from each classroom)
- Thursday, December 20: Staff Breakfast 8:00 AM in the LMC
- Friday, December 21: iReady Window 2 Closes, Carols in the gym 3:15 PM, Staff Celebration after school at B. L.
- Monday, January 7: School Resumes