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Resolutions: Light in that Mesopelagic Zone

  • 2021
  • Community
  • Leadership
  • Primary
by J. Christine Greenberg, Primary Principal

Also known as why we encourage students to make resolutions each year and other feel good moments at THS

This is an example of a ctenophore, Bathocyroe fosteri, which is a mesopelagic species. Image courtesy of Arctic Exploration 2002, Marsh Youngbluth, NOAA/OER.

"It's a new dawn. It's a new day. It's a new life for me - and I'm feeling good.” - Nina Simone

Welcome to 2022 or the next season of the Twilight Zone*. Depending on where you sit, a resolution is very possibly the last thing on your mind because these days, just “surviving” (however we may define it) seems enough.

But with our students on the first day back to school from winter break, we have been steadfast with the tradition of discussing New Year’s resolutions. Throughout the exercise, it’s always interesting to see everyone’s reactions.  Most adults don’t give it much thought. Quite a few said they didn’t believe in making them for the new year or making them at all. Reasoning ranged from there’s no use in making them because we should be trying to improve all the time, to making one will just be a sore point throughout the year in case it’s not achieved. 

Most of the kids on the other hand lit up when asked as though they were given a wish list for themselves. Students of all ages from Junior grade 1 to Grade 8 had something to say and I was both tickled and touched by their honesty and thoughtfulness - scroll down to see how so many of them are funny and spot on. 

Heading back to my office, I was musing on the difference in responses the older we get. While the adults were generally… well…adult, most kids were thoughtful and excited once they understood the exercise and couldn’t wait to express what they wanted to work on. It was uplifting to hear them, and it dawned on me that hearing their resolutions is really hearing their hope. 

Expressing an intent or a goal, no matter how small, is really a whisper from your present self to your future one: We can do it. This time, maybe we can. Perhaps with a healthy sprinkling of self-acceptance too: And if we don’t, well at least we’re better off than having never tried. 

Better off. I wonder how many of us can still believe, especially after these last couple of years that somehow, a future even with a present like today, might actually find us somehow somewhere along the line, better off. Because what a bleak existence it might be to live out the remainder assuming life will never be as good as before x (insert tragedy/difficult circumstance here). Perhaps at the heart of the struggle is recalibrating what the summit of better off actually is. Is it about always being happy and having an easy life with every comfort and basic need met? Circumstances which, we know are houses of cards that can come crashing down at the smallest downshift. Or is it about taking a cue from that other twilight zone*, the one deep down in our oceans where it is cold and dark and hard to find food yet is filled with creatures that evolved to bioluminescence, aglow with their own light for self and others? I see resolutions as the first sparks of such a transformation, and as you read them, I challenge you not to bask in their glow when you see how purely our students interpret their need to evolve, no matter how slightly, for the future.

And the thought that just “surviving” is enough? I can’t get behind it. This new year, I think about the loved ones unable to make their own resolutions because they’re no longer with us and I am filled with the fierce resolve to honor the time they’ve lost by ensuring I make and work on mine. 

May your 2022 find you better off and filled with resolve and hope.

*: The Twilight Zone is a movie based on a television program from 1959 where ordinary people meet extraordinary events and the twilight zone is a part of the ocean beyond the reach of sunlight, where it is cold and dark and the only light is from bioluminescent living things and how appropriate in this essay and year to recognise both.

A Sampling of Our Resolutions- THS Students and Staff

As we cannot convene in whole school assemblies, we started a little show called The Tide Show which airs for JG1-G8 students during their TIDE meetings each fortnight. Here’s the episode on resolutions - (watch it to check out Mr Husain’s amazing progress on his resolution!) and here is a sampling of our resolutions from youngest to oldest:

Water and Wood Floor

Elise-  Count backwards from 10 to 1.
Emilia- Count backwards from 100 to 1.
Shanaya- Do more dancing!
Phillip- Be resilient.
Tyler and Gavin- Get more golden pearl points!
Graham- Buy more band-aids.
Dahlia- Have more fun with math.
Zidan- Never give up in soccer even when I’m hurt and bleeding.
Mia- Climb the monkey bars because right know I don’t know how!
Enrico- Get better at swimming.
Levi-  Not be afraid of the dark.
Samir- Learn more in math!
Alfa-  Get better at Karate.
Ethan-  Code one game without help.
Marcus-  Keep trying my best.
Alfie-  Go to different places.
Ryan- Visit my grandparents
Lok- Make coronavirus go away so I can travel.
Jack- Make more careful choices.
Hugo- Learn how to do a rubik’s cube.
Kalanit- Do a full aerial.
Nayantara- Do a backward flip over.

Air and Earth Floor

Akshay- Exercise more! I sound like an 80 year old.
Adriel- Sleep early so I sleep more.
Ethan- Read longer.
Claudia- Take care of a dog and rabbit in my new house.
Ryan- Get more strong and fit.
Adeline- Do well in school.
Cooper- Get a six pack.
James- Watch less TV.
Nao- Get rid of my eczema!
Crystal- Persuade my mom to get me a pet.
Kaylin- Work hard at my company.
Max- Be more independent!
Marvin- Get rid of bad habits.
Oliver- Drink no soda.
Sam H- Also drink no soda.

Faculty

Natalie- Not eat before noon since I started intermittent fasting.
Leanne- Do yoga.
Francis and Sheryl- Get more fit!
Peter - Lose weight.
Nina- Be authentic to what I want. 
Shanna- Learn Korean.
Dan - Learn Tagalog.
Christine- Have less stuff.

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