This is the Lower School Chapel Talk given October 16, 2018 - World Food Day - by Ms. Mary Via, Director of Service Learning and External Engagement. As an adult chapel attendee, it was incredibly powerful and I believe, impactful. So much so, we just needed to share it.
Given the world we are currently living in, every parent should see “Eighth Grade”. Written and directed by Bo Burnham, the movie tells the story of introverted Kayla as she navigates the final week of her eighth grade year. The lens that Burnham utilizes gives an extraordinarily accurate portrayal of the pressures of middle school, such as social hierarchies and differing rates of pubertal growth. Because of Burnham’s masterful direction and Elsie Fisher’s brilliant performance, the viewer can actually feel her angst as she moves amongst her peers and attempts to communicate with the world using social media.
Tuesday is hip hop dance. Wednesday is yoga. Thursday is cross-training. Sunday is lacrosse. Basketball hasn't been scheduled yet. Exhausted much? That's my 10-year-old's activity schedule. Kids don’t have to think about developing their brains﹣but as parents, we are thinking about it on their behalf. Experts agree, brain development happens naturally as kids explore the world around them. So, it makes sense that the more parents add to and vary their children’s daily experiences, the more connections the brain is building. On top of that, we want them to be active and love learning new things. So of course after-school activities are good for kids but how frequently and which ones are the best?
As we slip back into our school routines as individuals and as families, it is fun to reflect on this past summer and it’s many wondrous moments. One moment, though, that impacted me emotionally more than any other was the passing of John McCain. Maybe it is because Senator McCain is an alum of St. Stephen’s School. This probably added to my emotions, certainly, as I watch my own children thrive at his old school. But If you strip away all political persuasions when reflecting on John McCain, what you are a left with is a servant of the people who valued honor and integrity above all else. His dedication to honor and the pursuit of a greater cause is what truly impacted my emotions.