Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sharing, Giving, and Enjoying the Wonders of Every Season

This decade is coming to a close and it certainly has been a tumultuous one.

In an era of Facebook and Twitter it is time to reflect on what really matters and to make sense of it all in a week in which one had to attend both funeral wakes and holiday parties.

Last night, my daughter asked me to view the movie, "The Gods Must be Crazy," with her. She had seen it at the Bement School from which she had graduated last Spring and wanted to see it again, perhaps to try and make sense of so much that seems to be unexplainable these days. We laughed and laughed during the movie, especially during the hysterical transportation and vehicle parts. At the end, after a tense climax, the world seems well again through the simplicity of family life and community. The setting of the movie is Africa.

Last winter, my daughter and her ninth grade classmates from the Bement School, along with several of their teachers and a medical staff person, traveled to the Dominican Republic to help out at the La Suiza orphanage for a week. The orphanage is home to about 40 boys. The experience was profound for all those that took part and the students came to understand the importance of giving and sharing.

Last week, my daughter received a phone call from a journalist from our local newspaper asking her what inspired her to give to the Toy Fund. The interviews with her and another teenager appear in today's Daily Hampshire Gazette. Her name is misspelled but the lasting impact of helping out and the experience in the Dominican Republic linger. She is now a student at the Deerfield Academy, which also has a tradition of community service both in neighboring communities and abroad.

As for trying to make sense of it all, let me recommend a book of poems by Professor Frederick C. Tillis, which arrived at our door with a very special inscription. The name of the book is Beginning again and I find it very fitting as we start a new decade.