When they first arrived on August 24th we worried about how the kids would make it to the bathroom on their own. But in just four months, they have grown up, a lot! On Thursday we held our first Winter Concert. Kyle Garcia, our delightful and talented music teacher took well-deserved bows for his hard work in overseeing this ambitious performance. Our entire staff pitched in to make the event a success for our students and their families.
The sight of our kindergarteners and 1st graders singing and playing instruments was enough to make a Grinch's heart grow yet another three sizes larger.
A few years before Dr. Seuss, Charles Dickens wrote a story that has also become a seasonal favorite: A Christmas Carol.
Dickens, who had little formal education and went to work at the age of 12 was keenly attuned to questions of social justice. The topic is of great interest to us at ICS as well.
In Dickens' story, Scrooge spends Christmas Eve in the company of three ghosts representing the past, the present and the future. Scrutinizing the Ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooge sees two small figures hidden among the Spirit’s feet:
They were a boy and a girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shriveled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds.
Shocked, Scrooge asks the Ghost who the children belong to: They are Man’s, said the Spirit, looking down upon them. And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”
As we head towards our first Christmas as a school, Dickens' fear of doom remains before us. Terrorism in Beirut, Baghdad, Bamako and San Bernardino. Intolerance on college campuses. Relentless and senseless gun violence that disproportionately kills and maims young black men.
Of course the causes are complex. But I find it hard not to see ignorance as the common root from which such strange fruit grows.
And so, at this time of year, we rededicate ourselves the the task of reducing ignorance as a path towards greater social justice. The best gift we can give to our community, our country and the world.
And may your holidays be peaceful and joyous.