In Morning Meeting this week, Mr. McFall, Dean of Students, shared a special holiday tradition. He told the story of his grandparents, beginning with an old-fashioned chocolate box that his grandfather used to fill with special trinkets for his grandmother. Enter Mr. McFall as a three-year-old boy (he describes himself looking exactly like his son): eager, energetic, and ever-on-the-lookout for mystery and adventure. As a boy, he found his grandfather’s converted chocolate box with a piece of sparkling jewelry. Little did young Mr. McFall know that the jewelry was not a gift for him, so he pranced around with it, gleefully enchanted with his discovery.
His grandfather beckoned him over and explained that it was a gift for his grandmother. Then, he asked young Mr. McFall if he would deliver the gift to his grandmother; that act would make everyone feel glad. Mr. McFall delivered the gift and saw his grandmother’s joy. When he snuck back to the chocolate box to look inside, there was a little trinket waiting for him.
The message? When you give to others, you gain as much as the recipients do.
Mr. McFall spoke to the school about this wintertime spirit: the spirit of giving, of bringing other people joy, of surprising each other, of making meaning and relishing in what we find. He has challenged the school to a treasure-hunt of giving, hiding that very chocolate box around campus. In the box, a surprise waits, and a surprise waits, too, once the box is returned to Mr. McFall. Every day, he sends out a photo of the box’s location, and students race to find it and take part in the fun-spirited exchange.
Ms. Doenmez has spoken about the joy of cozying up to a book in the winter; Mr. Bates has spoken about trying something new, enjoying the snow, and, perhaps, enjoying some nordic skiing. Winter is a time to bring joy to others, to find our own joys, to rediscover favorite pastimes, and, of course, to venture out into the possibilities that wait—shimmering, sparkling like jewelry in a keepsake box—to surprise and reinvigorate us.