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Greetings CMS Families,
I hope that you had a phenomenal weekend. When I left CMS on Friday, it was bitter cold and it really was “beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.” That song evokes feelings of warmth and festivity. Every time I hear it, I immediately revert to my childhood interpretation of the song. I think of snowflakes, brightly colored blinking lights scattered throughout tree-lined neighborhoods, families ice skating at the Frog Pond, eggnog and small groups of people caroling in perfect harmony while spreading holiday cheer. I also think of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Dr. Seuss and the Grinch, Scrooge and Nat King Cole enticing me with his smooth baritone voice to roast chestnuts over an open fire as Jack Frost nipped furiously at my nose.
I love this time of year! I used to think it was because of the obvious, presents. However, the older I got, the more I realized that it is not only the “hype” of the holiday but also the valuable lessons learned along the way. It is better to give than to receive. Be grateful for all that you have. Always say please and thank you. Send thank you notes. Time waits for no one so take advantage of it. Pretty is as pretty does. Ugly is as ugly does. What’s in the heart shows through your tongue. Let your light shine! Always keep an open mind. What do any of these lessons have to do with my family celebrating Christmas? The simple answer is that those were commonly used phrases during one of the happiest moments in time for me. Children learn from the behavior that we model and the experiences that we create daily.
The holidays are great time to observe people at their best and at their worst. The people in New England are considered as cold as our frigid winters, yet during the holiday season, there is such warmth that permeates throughout various communities. I looked forward to people smiling and greeting each other with holiday wishes. I enjoy seeing people gain so much joy from their random acts of kindness. The holiday season stirs up kindness in the bellies of people that you never knew existed. Last week, Officer Larry DePrimo, one of NYC’s finest, was caught on video approaching Jeffrey Hillman, a man who happens be homeless. Mr. Hillman was sitting outside of a shoe store, barefoot and cold when Officer DePrimo approached him and inquired about his well being. Shortly after their brief conversation, the police officer went inside of the store and bought the man a pair of boots with his own money. Needless to say, the story has gone viral.
We are a nation crying out for something to feel good about. In the midst of our economic crisis and sad news plaguing our daily headlines, we live for these moments. I cried when I watched Officer DePrimo place the shoes on Mr. Hillman’s feet. My guess is that the officer didn’t just learn to help those in need as part of his duty to protect and serve. My guess is that he learned the value of helping others in his home and through his life experiences either in school or in the workplace. When I heard the story, I immediately began to think, “It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.” Childhood memories of commercials such as the classic one from Coca-Cola that displayed people from all around the world singing “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.” Coca-Cola is a mega conglomerate but even then, they understood the importance of connecting people under the guise of the holiday spirit. That commercial was the “real thing.” I vividly recall at the early age of four years old getting goose bumps and a chill up my spine every time the commercial aired. Four decades later, I have the same reaction to the Pampers commercial promoting world peace in their holiday marketing of their product and babies from every continent. My eyes fill with tears every time I see the Folgers coffee commercial where the son surprises his family with a visit during the holidays and he and his sister share a very special moment. I sob every time I watch Miracle on 34th Street. I am empathetic when the Grinch and Scrooge have a change of heart. Yes, I am a sucker for this holiday season. It gives us all a chance to embrace the lessons learned from various experiences.
Tomorrow evening, the CMS Diversity and Inclusion Committee invites you to join us for “Festival of Lights.” This event was planned to create an authentic atmosphere of warmth and celebration of all of the holiday traditions and lessons represented around the world. We will have delicious food, arts and crafts, music and share stories as we make our own memories for our students to treasure, reminding them to be grateful, have an open mind and that it is better to give than to receive. Sprinkle that in with a little bit of please and thank you and you have a recipe for grace and courtesy that we hope will extend well beyond this holiday season. We won’t be roasting chestnuts at an open fire, but we will be singing our holiday stories in perfect harmony and letting our lights shine! Tis the season to be jolly! Hope to see you there! Have a peaceful week!
Dr. Ingrid Tucker
Head of School