Monday, December 23

Dear Santa... [#12DC]

Open a new blog post. Close your eyes. Pretend you still talk to Santa. Open your eyes. Start writing. What would you say? What would you tell him? What would you ask for?

This year, my students wrote letters to Santa as part of the Macy's "Believe" campaign for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.  We discussed what Make-a-Wish does for children and I asked my students to do what I'm doing today: share their wishes with Santa.  I'm sharing a few of their letters today, along with my own wishes for 2014.

This week in my yoga class, my teacher shared this joke with us: "Each of our lives has four parts, if we are lucky.  In the first part, we believe in Santa.  In the second part, we don't believe in Santa.  In the third part, we are Santa.  In the fourth part, we look like Santa."

Dear Santa, I don't have many wishes for myself this Christmas.  I have a warm home, a loving and supportive family, and healthy meals every day.  That's not the case for all of my students, so I have some wishes for them that I wanted to send your way.  I know my kids think they are too old and too cool to come sit on your lap, so I'll let you know what they really need as they travel through the second part of their lives.

Santa, I wish that none of my students had to come to class without eating breakfast or go home to no dinner at night.  I wish that McDonald's was a treat to them instead of a staple.  I wish that their parents had time to spend with them around the table, and took the time to have conversations with them about their school days, their social lives, and their hopes for the future.

Santa, I wish that my students wouldn't feel so pressured to map out their lives in the eighth grade.  I wish they could understand that there is still plenty of time to find themselves and that becoming a doctor, lawyer, or scientist isn't the only way to make their parents and teachers proud - that many of the careers they will pursue haven't been invented yet and that we will always need writers, artists, and dancers as well.  We'll need auto mechanics, and lumberjacks, and game wardens.  We'll need soldiers, policemen, and firemen.

I wish that my students could come to school unburdened by worries about sick relatives, whether Dad will be able to keep his job at the window factory, and whether Mom and Dad (or Mom and Stepdad, or Stepmom and Dad) are going to stay together.  I wish for them to never know what a meth lab smells like or how to hide from the DEA while Dad makes moonshine.

I wish my students didn't feel like they have to grow up so fast, Santa.  I wish they didn't even need to think about relationship violence, homophobia, racism, teen pregnancy, or STDs.  I wish them snowball fights, hugs, art projects, and innocent first movie dates.  I wish that holding hands was still exhilarating for a 13-year-old girl and that a peck on the cheek was still enough to mean love.

I wish that my students didn't have to come to school in shorts in November, or without a coat in January, or in shoes that fit in August but not anymore.  I wish that they could go home and see books on shelves and have a quiet space to do their homework or draw a picture.

Santa, more than anything else, I wish that everyone knew what wonderful people sit in my classroom every day.  That "kids these days" still dream of fixing this world's problems. That they can rise above selfishness, closed-mindedness, and fear, and that they will be our leaders before we know it.  Soon enough, they will be Santa.  I wish that their hearts will stay full of the love they need to get there.

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1 comment:

  1. I really love how your Yoga Teacher described this. I wish all the same things for the kiddos I work with as well.