Head of School Blog

Reflections on the New Year

Jill Singleton
From the age of five, my world has primarily rotated on a school year schedule, with time marked by the calendar year rather than the academic year. For my family, September represents the beginning of the year, and June the ending (my husband is also an educator). The traditional New Year celebration, which narrows in on midnight of December 31st, therefore, has always been a bit elusive for me, and the day leaves me feeling unsettled and just a tad out of sorts.

One of the ways I seek to ground myself on New Year’s Eve is to return the house to neutral after the Christmas holiday. As I take down the ornaments and lights from the tree, I can’t help but reflect on the passage of time and the increasing speed with which it seems to move. There are ornaments on our tree from my own childhood, some made by my toddler-self, and others that are nostalgic heirlooms, passed down from my parents and grandparents. Of course, there are several ornaments made by my own children (truly my favorites) or that my children and I purchased together to mark special occasions, such as when we welcomed our incorrigible pug, Cassius Clay, into the family.

In the next few months my children will celebrate birthdays, turning 17 and 19. Although they are young adults by all standards of measure, they will always be my babies; they will forever receive nothing less than my very best self, and will remain boundless sources of hope and optimism for my husband and me. Together we marvel at the young adults they have become. We are proud that they are their own true, authentic selves, driven by their own passions and desires. The values they espouse go beyond what we could have hoped to instill; they have a sense of goodness and justice that will impact the world in countless ways, large and small, and the joy that they bring to my husband and me will continue to help us to embrace a sense of hope and confidence in the next generation.

On this day of pause and reflection, I give thanks to the many families I have had the pleasure to partner with over the 25 years I have spent in this remarkable field of education. Over the years, I have met the most amazing parents who are not only committed to their own children’s education, but to contributing to a sense of community for all children. I give tremendous thanks for you, the families of All Saints, whom I hold up as the most impressive and sincere I have ever met, and am honored and humbled to play a part in helping to nurture your children so that they might fully unfold into the people they are meant to be. Over the years, I have had the honor of calling thousands my students, and each has, in his or her own way, made me a better person. A German proverb claims that “He who teaches children learns more than they do.” I can attest to the truth of that statement, and the chief lesson I’ve learned from the students at All Saints is that we have every reason to believe that our best years indeed lie ahead; with your children’s hearts and minds at the helm, I can clearly see smoother seas and more peaceful skies for all.

Best wishes for a safe and joyous New Year!

Comments? Thoughts? Ideas? I’d love to hear them! Email me: jsingleton@allsaintshoboken.com