Dear KES Family,
It is Good Friday, and a very good Friday it is. The first week back has been productive on campus and reports from the Concert Band tour to New York with Mr. Smith and Ms. Sasaki have been excellent. Our IB students are all working hard in preparation for their oral and upcoming exams, and sports teams are approaching the upcoming season with a sense of adventure and humour. Given that there is at least four feet of dense snow covering the campus, our cycling, track and field, rugby, and golf teams are finding creative and fun ways to prepare. The Junior School Easter Egg Hunt yesterday demonstrated how a little ingenuity and imagination can make an adventure out of even the highest snow banks. It is a good lesson for our students to learn – one can stay indoors and complain, or one can have fun with the unique situation Mother Nature has given us.
I love to people watch and travelling over the March Break afforded me plenty of opportunity. Observing the behaviour of non-KES children reminded me of how fortunate we are. I was astonished at how many children used their phones and iPads while “eating” with their parents: elbows on tables, electronics blocking the view of faces, conversation at a minimum. It was not just teenagers we saw doing this, but children of all ages. At one restaurant we were amazed to see a “baby” in a stroller playing away, tapping icons, as her parents ate beside her.
I think as parents we all live in a relative state of fear for our children. I remember being fearful that my son would never learn how to tie shoelaces because he always had shoes with Velcro straps. I worry about children who cannot tell time on an analogue watch or clock, or who are math whizzes with calculators but do not know their times tables and cannot make change at a store. With so many prepared meals and ‘just add water’ mixes in supermarkets, I despair that this and coming generations will not learn how to cook or bake. But at the top of my list right now is the ability to make conversation, in real time, in person. Mealtime conversations can be fun. They can also be frustrating, explosive, or reassuring. But, they bring families together. We learn about each other and we learn how to make conversation. We learn the art and etiquette of reciprocity, of listening and speaking and asking questions. We learn how to tell stories and how to read between the lines, to interpret what is really going on in our family members’ lives.
At KES we don’t allow students to use their electronic devices in the Dining Hall. Coaches don’t allow them on the sidelines or dressing rooms or during team meals when we are off campus. Heaven forbid someone pulls out a device during Chapel (!). Students quickly find their phones confiscated if they use them in class. Our world is changing so rapidly that in many ways the childhood of this generation is unique in human experience. We don’t know what the end result will be and so we have to hold on tight to what we consider important and of value, even if it means creating unpopular rules and enforcing them. Maybe knowing how to tie shoes or tell analogue time or make change from a ten dollar bill will not even be relevant in the future, but it strikes me that strong families and good communication skills always will be.
This week in pictures.