Giving and Learning
December 20, 2018
In a few days, it’ll all be over. For many of us, the rush to the holidays is that blend of joy and cheer mixed with anxiety and stress. Yes, it’s a happy and joyous time but we put ourselves through some high levels of stress to accomplish all we think we need to do. I don’t know about you, but I still have some learning to do on this one.
I was reminded just the other day of how joyful the giving tradition of the holidays can be. It was a delight for me to watch Daycroft students immerse themselves in the joy of giving. From our Girls Scout troop gathering gifts to give to Food Gatherers, to Middle School students raising money to purchase a holiday tree for the Peace Neighborhood Center, to the Skate Board Club students collecting funds to purchase a new skate board for a child who otherwise would have little to celebrate, it was a joy to see our students involved in making the holidays brighter for families in need.
I had the privilege of accompanying the skate board club students on their mission to purchase their gift. They gathered contributions from family and friends, worked through a budget for their purchase, collectively decided on the type and style of equipment needed and discussed throwing in some nice extras to make someone's holiday really special. They were learning valuable lessons while giving of themselves. What was most enjoyable to see was the joy that this brought to each student.
While enjoying each other's company, they truly enjoyed the process. The prospect of brightening someone's holiday brought a special joy to them. The smiles were genuine. The laughter was real. In the giving, there was a sense that they were receiving much in return.
I trust that in the days ahead, we can all find ways like this to increase the joy while reducing the stress. The spirit of giving need not be complicated. It need not be stressful. Focusing on the love that goes into it can make all the difference.
As the author Charles Dickens reminded us many years ago, meaning and purpose in our lives comes when we “lighten the burdens of another.” Daycroft students experienced this and learned a profound truth along the way.
Wishing you all the joy of the season,