The Head’s Tales: Christmas reflections

The Christmas holidays tend to be a particularly reflective time of year and thought I would take some time to share a few of my own reflections:

Last week I read two books – The Power of Nice by Linda Kaplan Thaler and The Power of Less by Leo Babuata. As we approach this holiday season and get caught up striving for more, bigger and better, I thought the messages contained in both books to be particularly poignant.

The Power of Less looks at ways we can “take our lives back from the clutter, noise and unnecessary work that fills a modern day.” The author states that it is critical that we seek out the calm in the busyness of our lives and identify those things that are most essential and give us the greatest joy.  This requires us to focus on the important things, instead of everything. Generally, the important things are in fact relationships and it is often the little acts of generosity that give us the greatest sense of satisfaction.

In The Power of Nice, the author states that those who strive to be nice live longer, are healthier and have a stronger personal network of support. In today’s world of interconnectedness, striving for teamwork and cooperation will forge the kinds of relationships that lead to increased opportunities and a sense of well-being irrespective of wealth, acquisitions or status.

In connecting the messages from these two books and in the spirit of the festive season, I would like to share a list of gifts that I believe are priceless and fit into being both “less and nice!”

  • The gift of appreciating the little things – a smile, a helping hand, a hug and knowing that these are in fact the BIG things.
  • The gift of knowing that cultivating great friendships is one of the surest ways to find more joy in life.
  • The gift of reliving your childhood – not only from your past memories, but also from your own child’s current reality – playfulness can be as powerful as purposefulness!
  • The gift of recognizing that the most important human action is to love – not just other people, but also one’s work, our surroundings and, most importantly, ourselves.
  • The gift of celebrating what’s right in the world and seeking out the positives in every situation.
  • And finally, the best gift of all at this time of year is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.  It is less about opening presents and more about opening hearts.

As stated in this Chinese proverb: “The more one gives, the more one has.”

I wish you all a wonderful holiday, filled with all the gifts that really matter.

Cathy Thornicroft
Head of School

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