So I used to think that the happiest place on Earth was the arrival gate at any international airport, kind of like the introductory scene suggests in the classic movie Love Actually. You see, ever since I was a kid I have been taken by the smiles and the hugs and the pure joy that is unabashedly on display every time a person comes into sight through those opening arrival doors. People are always rushing over the railings and past security guards and holding up signs, and in most cases they are quite literally unable to contain their happiness at the sight of their arriving loved ones…it inspired me then as a young person and it still does to this day. Next time you find yourself at an arrival gate, take a good look around and take in the beauty…it’s a deliciously happy place indeed.
Anyway, over the past few years I have started to change my tune slightly, and now I firmly believe that the happiest place on Earth might just be the arrival gate of a lower school on the first day back from summer. Our first day was this past Tuesday, and the amount of smiles, hugs, laughter and unadulterated joy that was spilling out of the students and teachers was palpable and magical. Kids were sprinting off the buses and into the playground, desperately seeking out their friends, and eager to make new ones. Even the new students, who were sent into an “I can’t wait” frenzy the day before at new family orientation day were dying to get started in their new classes…it really was a beautiful experience, and I just stood there taking it all in, smiling from ear to ear (in between hugs and high fives and fist bumps of course).
Thinking about it though, I’m sure that this particular year is a little different, as there seems to be a sense of deep relief being shared by all of us as we start the year without masks and isolating restrictions and all the rest. I guess it is an exaggerated version of what we usually see on the first day of school, as I know we are all hoping that this is the new beginning that we have been waiting for since the pandemic began. I have to say that it wasn’t just the kids and teachers who were joyfully ready to roll last Tuesday, it was the parents as well. The lower school playground had a party-like atmosphere almost like a carnival, and it gave me a glimpse into the community that we used to have here at ASP not that long ago, and it was an inspiring promise of what’s to come. It was a return to a look of our true community, and a wonderful first step into reconnecting.
It reminded me of the poem below that I’ve shared before in previous posts, which talks about the important and essential partnership that needs to be developed between parents and educators in order to give our students the educational experience that they deserve. The poem might be a little outdated in some parts but the sentiment rings true, and it’s one of the things that is so exciting about this year…that reconnection of community after such an abrupt and isolating collective experience. So with all that in mind, and the arrival gate euphoria still very much in my heart, I want to wish everyone an amazing school year ahead. Here’s to keeping that arrival gate awesomeness alive and well in the months to come. Welcome back to school everyone, and remember to be great for our students and good to each other.
Whose Child Is This?
“Whose child is this?” I asked one day
Seeing a little one out at play
“Mine”, said the parent with a tender smile
“Mine to keep a little while
To bathe his hands and comb his hair
To tell him what he is to wear
To prepare him that he may always be good
And each day do the things he should”
“Whose child is this?” I asked again
As the door opened and someone came in
“Mine”, said the teacher with the same tender smile
“Mine, to keep just for a little while
To teach him how to be gentle and kind
To train and direct his dear little mind
To help him live by every rule
And get the best he can from school”
“Whose child is this?” I ask once more
Just as the little one entered the door
“Ours” said the parent and the teacher as they smiled
And each took the hand of the little child
“Ours to love and train together
Ours this blessed task forever.”
Quote of the Week…
School bells are ringing loud and clear. Vacation is over and school is here!
– Winifred C. Marshal
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