At the beginning of the 2019 school year, we decided that we as an elementary were going to meet together for the first ten minutes of every day. A few students led us in the pledge each day, we shared Tootles with our “family” members, we celebrated birthdays each day, and then we recited pledges, claiming that we believed in ourselves and in each other. We discussed leadership traits and invited community members in to talk with us about the ways in which they help other people each day. We made a promise that our morning family meetings would continue. And then Covid hit.
When we returned in August, I realized that as much as I hated it, we could not all gather in the gym each morning and risk any of us getting sick. So we gave up on our family meetings.
About a month into school, some of us talked and realized that what we were missing was that community feeling that we had developed with each other last year. So we adapted.
This year we have had to split our lunches into one for kindergarten-2nd graders and one for 3rd-5th graders. Although our whole family cannot be together each day, we still recite leadership pledges, we still celebrate birthdays together (and thanks to the PTO, each child is given ice cream or a cup and pencil on their special day), and we acknowledge those who treat others respectfully throughout out building.
Our time off last year made us realize that you don’t have to be related by blood to be a family. We appreciate our time together, even though we have to come together and share during our lunch time. We share Tootles, letting others know how much we love them. And we just soak in the moments when we can share with our brothers and sisters our dreams and then listen attentively when they share with us theirs.
I would say that Michael J. Fox knew what he was talking about when he once stated, “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.”