Whether your winter vacation included travel or you stayed at home, I hope you enjoyed a wonderful break with family and friends. I spent part of the break starting three excellent books:
The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, which explores the “Eight Pillars of Joy” as discussed by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. “Trust that you will be able to handle whatever the next day may hold and release your concerns for the night as you go to sleep.”
Homegoing by the talented author Yaa Gyasi, who was born in Ghana and raised in Alabama before earning her B.A. in English from Stanford University and an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Her novel, which has been on The New York Times bestseller list, is heralded as “making history visceral.”
Some of you know that I enjoy poetry; I was pleased to receive Upstream by Mary Oliver, with selected essays about her respect for the natural world and how the great thinkers and naturalists Whitman, Wordsworth, Frost, Emerson and Poe influenced her to “observe with passion.”
As we return for the second half of the school year, my charge to our faculty and staff is to ensure that our students engage and observe with passion.” The three books I mention above offer us a collective charge as we begin the new year: to “walk upstream,” “to make history and teaching visceral” and “to dedicate the merit of our day and let it be a blessing to all.” By way of encouraging each of us to commit to our very best — as parents, teachers, students and members of the Tower Hill community — I offer you this passage from Mary Oliver's chapter in Upstream, titled Wordsworth's Mountain:
There is a rumor of total welcome among the frosts of the winter morning. Beauty has its purposes, which, all our lives and at every season, it is our opportunity, and our joy, to divine. Nothing outside ourselves makes us desire to do so; the questions, and the striving toward answers come from within... it is the performance of this hour only, the dawning of the day, fresh and ever new. This is to say nothing against afternoons, evenings or even midnight. Each has its portion of the spectacular. But dawn — dawn is a gift. Much is revealed about a person by his or her passion, or indifference, to this opening of the door of the day...
As we open Tower Hill’s door for the new year and recommit to engaging your children’s passion each day, we thank you for your all you do as parents to support Tower Hill's mission.
Happy New Year!