GENEROSITY: December’s Key to Success
Dear Mill Pond students:
During the month of November we focused on the key value of EMPATHY: trying to see things from another’s perspective. In the November Monthly Key Value letter, Ms. Kovaleski shared a quote by Alice Miller: “Empathy grows as we learn.” Also in November, Connor Schoen from Westborough High School came and spoke at our grade-level assemblies and he taught us more about Empathy; the idea that caring about someone else is often what prompts us to get involved in “service” of others. Remember when he said that service simply means to serve others without expecting anything in return?
Guess what? That idea is very closely connected to our Key Value for December: GENEROSITY. Generosity means “Giving or sharing in abundance without expecting anything in return.” As we learned more about how many children and families in Westborough do not have enough food in their homes, Mill Pond students and families began practicing Generosity with our Food Drive which started in early November. As of when I am writing this on 11/28/16 we have already collected almost 2,800 lbs of food and toiletries to donate to the Westborough Food Pantry! I know each grade hopes to reach 1,000 lbs for their grade level, so I am excited to see how close we can get to that goal of over 3,000 lbs. in the next few days!
We also learned about the 300 Mittens Project which was organized by the Westborough 300th Anniversary Committee. Did you know that Westborough is turning 300 this year? One of the ways in which the town is celebrating this anniversary is to show Generosity to those in need of warm clothing this winter. We are collecting new or gently used mittens and gloves that will be donated to those in need before the really cold weather settles in, so please get your donations in by December 5, 2016. Donation boxes are in the lobby.
Finally, you will soon learn more about the Westborough Holiday Store. This is a place where Westborough families who have financial need, can go to get free toys for their children for the holidays. So what can you do to help? Starting on December 1, Mill Pond School will again ask our 4th, 5th and 6th graders to practice Generosity. Each floor will have a table for your donations of new, unwrapped toys that can be used by infants, toddlers, children, and teenagers. Many of us will celebrate Hanukkah or Christmas in December and we are grateful for the gifts we receive. Can you continue to show Empathy and Generosity by bringing in toys for the Holiday Store? Your gift is sure to put a smile on a child’s face, and it will probably put a smile on your face too because giving to others can make us feel joy.
My family feels joy for many reasons each year when we celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas together, and when my son was growing up we had a holiday tradition that started when he was about four years old. Each year, for one night of Hanukkah, Ben would not get a present. Instead, he took money out of his piggy bank, in whatever amount he decided he wanted to give, and we matched that amount. So, if he took $5.00, we added $5.00. If he took $10.00, we added $10.00. You get the idea. Then, we would go to the toy store and use that money to buy toys to donate for needy children. Ben would spend a LONG time thinking about what to buy. What toy would a baby like to get? What about a boy his age or a teenage girl? He tried to think about Christmas and Hanukkah from the perspective of other children and what would make them happy. We kept up this tradition until Ben graduated from college, although as he got older he used all of his own money :-) Even though he was buying toys he would never use himself, he always said that these shopping nights were some of his favorite memories of growing up. This is because when we give of the heart, it fills our heart with joy, or “fills your bucket” as your counselors would say!
Don’t forget, Generosity is not just about giving things, it is also about what you can GIVE of YOURSELF. What does that mean? Think about this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: "Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give."
Perhaps you never thought about the idea of “giving happiness.” So try this: remember a time when you DID something that made another person happy. What was it that filled that person with joy and gratitude? Was it because they weren’t expecting what you did for them? Was it because they really needed a friend at that moment? Was it because they appreciated how you sacrificed for them?
Now think about this: How did it make you feel? My guess is that you probably felt as excited as they did or maybe even more! We all get pleasure from knowing that we made someone happy. I bet you can think of lots of times already when you brought joy to someone because of something you DID. You can give of yourself- your time, your thoughts, your kind words, your appreciation. It’s not hard to do, you just need to think about it and DO IT!
So that’s my challenge to you during this month of December: can you demonstrate Generosity every day? Are you ready to GIVE happiness every day? Can you surprise your family, your teachers, your classmates, your friends, etc., and GIVE them happiness when they least expect it? Imagine the many smiles you will see and how joyful you will feel to know you made it all happen!
The December break is just around the corner, but don’t forget that there is still a lot of learning in the weeks ahead! Do your very best to stay focused and put forth your strongest effort to be the best student and classmate you can be. And don’t forget to practice Generosity every day!
Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season.
Ms. Suzanne Kenny, M.S. Ed.
Mill Pond School