As the weather settles into its seasonal routine and the school year winds down to its rapid close, it seems especially fitting that our final spirituality theme is Changes – a look at the natural process of life and death, new beginnings, and moving on. Each grade level will spend the last few weeks exploring age-appropriate aspects of the theme, but all students will engage in reflection on the challenges and triumphs experienced throughout the year.
At our Spirituality Gathering this week, I asked the students to show me a "thumbs up" if they think of change as a pleasurable, welcome or exciting experience, or a “thumbs down” if they think of it as something that brings displeasure or that they fear or seek to avoid. Despite the number of years I’ve spent with children, it was quite sobering to see the church chock full of thumbs down – no sign of any hesitation - save for a very small minority.
While I am well aware that the human animal resists change and seeks constancy, it gave me pause to realize that even children as young as seven years old are conscious of this inborn desire for sameness and routine.
At our Gathering, we talked about the fact that we are all about to face a significant change – whether changing grades and teachers, meeting new friends, moving on to high school, or moving to a new town or country altogether - every member of our community is facing an important transition. At our faculty meeting, teachers shared that students wanted to discuss the topic further, and even those most reticent to share wanted to verbalize the challenging and often conflicting feelings they were experiencing. It was a good reminder for all of us that these last weeks and days are a tender time for our students, and despite the many things that need to get done, we must be mindful of their emotions. It is especially important at this time to treat these students with the care and loving kindness they need and deserve as they navigate the important changes in their lives.