January 6

The church bell tolled bright and early on Monday morning as we welcomed students, parents, teachers, and staff back from the Christmas holiday. It was good to return to our routines and resume our community activities. In our opening chapel / assembly, we discussed the opportunity we have at school to set “New Year’s” resolutions for the second time. Following an academic calendar, everyone was encouraged to set goals for the year as we began in August. Now, we have a second chance to renew those goals or to set completely new ones for the second half of our year. Having too often failed miserably with my resolutions, my recommendation was to shorten our lists and aim for accomplishing monthly goals rather than lofty ones that perhaps are unattainable for a whole year.

So here was my suggestion to be included on our lists. Our value this month is Courage. Of course, we all hope to have courage in the face of great challenges, but what about courage in our everyday choices, particularly in relationships with friends and family? Our mural outside of the Student Center is our constant reminder that St. Michael’s has the Courage to Be Kind. Kindness gets you everywhere, as the saying goes. It diffuses anger, disagreements, hurt feelings, or misunderstood words or actions. As simple as it sounds, it still takes courage to choose kindness, particularly when someone has said or done something that is hurtful. One student, who showed courage in her honesty, shared in Monday Chapel that sometimes our natural response, when someone has hurt us or embarrassed us, is to be mean or to become defensive. I guess that is part of our fight-or-flight instinct. But what if we all worked to choose kindness first, to be the difference-maker, to set a different tone? Perhaps this simple action could be the change we want to see. I think that is the philosophy behind the Ben’s Bells movement, which began in Tucson and now has spread well beyond our state boundaries. It’s the philosophy that I hope we can have the courage to display here at St. Michael’s…one day at a time…one month at a time…until we feel that we have lived into our New Year’s resolution.

St. Michael’s has the COURAGE to be kind. It’s now on my list.

Happy New Year!

Margaret Moore

Head of School