In late November, twilight peeks through the clouds while the carpool line is still idling in the front and back parking lots. Just when the last bell rings each afternoon, the sky, the temperature, and our bodies are all telling us to slow down. Of course that doesn’t mean that a parent’s job or a Harpeth Hall student’s day is nearing completion. There are bowling alleys and swimming pools, dance studios and mock trial offices to race to. Our energy level may suggest we follow the circadian rhythms of our bodies by going to bed earlier in the winter months, but school and work demands have not gotten that memo.
The last line of our Core Purpose, which was written by our teachers ten years ago, states that we will “inspire students and faculty to combine reflection with action”. No problem with the action part, we have that down. It is the reflection piece where we are a little shaky. We are all tempted to move into action without the patience to reflect and think more deeply about our lives and the complexity of issues facing us.
Thank goodness for Thanksgiving because it comes just in the nick time. Mark Twain wrote, “Reflection is the beginning of reform.” When I can slow down and think, I am more likely to make a better decision or adhere to a less selfish mantra. In stillness comes the ability to think beyond our immediate needs and instead adhere to the sublime.
During our Thanksgiving break, I hope we will find a little time for reflection. In these rare periods of reflection, I expect to be filled with gratitude. Among many blessings, I appreciate the opportunity to work within this wonderful community of students, faculty, and parents. The people here are dedicated to doing their best each day and to doing it better next time. As a school or as individuals, we are not perfect, but we know that we need to pause and reflect in order to grow. We have that pause scheduled in our calendars this week. A holiday that tells us to take time out to be thankful for what we have must be the best holiday around. Reflection and gratitude are the nuts we must store for the stamina needed to carry us through these short days and long winter months.