November 16, 2018
Dear Parents and Guardians,
It is a day before Thanksgiving break. We are nearing the end of the single longest stretch of school and the place certainly feels it. We - and by that I mean everyone here - is appropriately tired! The fall has been filled with meaningful challenges - navigating a new school to navigating the college process - and we are arriving at the break having achieved some good and well-earned success.
Given all that, Thanksgiving is unique among holidays and boarding school breaks in where it stands. The holiday itself - US Thanksgiving - is about spending time with family and friends. On the eve of winter, reenergizing is an essential part of navigating the dark days of December with exams and cold and everything else. How might you and your child utilize this holiday to get the most out of this moment?
First, we know that brains work best when they feel connected. That is where the relationships of family and friends are essential. We leverage this idea all the time at Taft. We know each of our students well. We connect with each of them and work with them as they individually find their way through the shared experience here. With connection, all things are possible.
Second, we need to understand what matters most and pay attention to that. Often, we make assumptions about what someone else thinks is the most important. For that matter, we make assumptions of all kinds. Assumptions rarely help us connect in the way we think. Better to ask and engage than to talk and assume.
Finally, asking questions is the greatest way to connect. Brady Wilson gives a great talk about how we might approach trying to connect with our children. He describes a moment when a question from a friend drove the feelings of connection and belonging he wanted and needed. Asking a question and then listening carefully - rather than listening only to respond or listening hoping to hear a particular answer - is central to help the person with whom you hope to connect feel earnestly connected to you.
Enjoy this upcoming time and I hope it will be filled with lots of close connections and real listening. If you would like to watch Brady Wilson’s talk, you can find it here:
How to fix an exhausted brain - Brady Wilson
. Safe travels and happy holidays.
All the best,