Brentwood always does a beautiful job of celebrating important milestones and making sure to properly commemorate academic and social growth. Children spend the majority of their day at school so it can leave a lasting impression, especially when they stay at the same school for their entire academic career leading up to high school graduation. From the beginning, the teachers at Brentwood find ways to commend small achievements such as losing a tooth or completing a chapter book for the first time. The teachers help students celebrate their birthdays and find fun ways to bring the holiday spirit into the classroom such as decorating a class Christmas tree or participating in a food drive for Thanksgiving.
With Christmas just around the corner, the holiday season is picking up speed. And with the holidays come many wonderful things such as time with family and good food. However, amongst the hustle and bustle of traveling, frantic shopping, and family drama we can lose focus. It happens to the best of us and we get distracted by so many of our worries and stresses that we forget the main reason we put up a Christmas tree and gather for a special meal with loved ones.
The holidays can be a distracting time for children as well; they get excited for the break and anticipate opening presents Christmas morning and spending time with cousins. I praise my elementary school teachers for always being able to help mold our pent-up energy during the holidays into fun, holiday-themed activities while still keeping us on track academically. We were able to celebrate without losing focus from our classwork. Those lessons in time management were beneficial to me during my college years. It may seem silly to think that how my teachers in elementary school taught me ways to balance my emotions and time would stay with me even now as a college graduate, but the foundations that were built as a child are just the beginning of shaping the adults of tomorrow, so it is critical in my eyes.
Brentwood, even outside the holiday season, taught me skills for time-management and prioritizing a to do list that I used in college almost every day. College can be chaotic and exciting because of the abundance of activities, classes, study sessions, and work schedules that have to be organized. It takes discipline to be able to prioritize tasks and fit everything you need to do in a day. It is all about finding the right balance for yourself. Brentwood was a wonderful example of how to keep focused, but still be able to enjoy yourself during times when you feel like you are being pulled in too many different directions. While Brentwood is one of the largest private schools in the area, it is small by comparison to public schools here. For me, that is part of its charm. The smallness allows for a close-knit community, but also allows students the opportunity to participate in multiple sports and extra-curricular activities. Participating in several different activities makes for a busy schedule. I remember arriving on campus an hour before the start of school for Encore practice and staying several hours later for theater rehearsal. My days were full, but my teachers taught me great ways to manage my homework and organize my time so that I could focus on the right things at the right time. I was able to use those same skills in college to balance my social life, schoolwork, and job.
The holidays bring many distractions, but I hope you are able to find time for your family and yourself. Let’s take a page from Brentwood’s book and find the balance in our busy schedules. In the midst of the chaos of preparing your house for guests and decking the halls, remember to enjoy the smell of the ham baking in the oven and join in the laughter of your loved ones as they reminisce of past Christmas shenanigans. There may be many things on our minds, and we may feel overwhelmed at times, but I hope we can remember the true reason we gather around the Christmas tree; the birth of Jesus. May you find numerous ways to celebrate this Christmas.