Dear Flint Hill School Family,

I know this is a busy time of the year for everyone, but I also know it is a very exciting time as the holidays approach. The spirit of the season is everywhere. Everywhere you look there are colorful lights, decorated trees and wreaths that help us celebrate this time of year. At the same time, we are hard at work at School bringing to an end all the work that has been going on for this second quarter. Students in Grades 7-12 are getting ready for exams. Students on athletic teams are finally into the winter season and winter concerts have started. I hope everyone had a chance to attend the amazing Band Concert last week and the Tip-Off Classic last weekend. Those special events are only the tip of the iceberg for the many activities in our vibrant community.

At home, I am sure many of you are also getting ready to celebrate Hanukkah or Christmas. The race to purchase gifts, put up decorations and prepare for social gatherings can be overwhelming, but it is important to pause to experience the sense of joy the holidays can bring us. During this hectic time, let’s never lose sight of the spirituality behind the holidays. Much of that should guide our thinking and the values that we have learned based on our beliefs and faiths.

As we decorated our house last weekend, a number of key things hit me. I got up early and hauled everything down from the attic; boxes and trunks that have been stored away since last January. I began by setting up the Santa’s, our tree and the mechanical gizmos that always need new batteries. My gizmos dance, move and sing different songs. They may seem silly, but for some reason, I have always taken great delight in decorating our house with them. If you are ever in a store and hear somebody pressing the buttons on one these items, there is a good chance that I’m in the next aisle playing with the decorations! I’m embarrassed by it, but I find this to be a lot of fun, as do our grandchildren. I also realize how important the decorations in our homes can be for our families and for each of us as individuals.

As I set up our tree each year and open the trunk that houses our ornaments, I feel like I am greeting old friends. Many of them were gifts that students and families from our past gave to us at various moments. Other decorations come from the various cities and states that we have lived in. Some commemorate various pets that we had over the years that are no longer with us. And some are mementos from grandparents who have passed away. Each and every one of them brings a memory of a person or from a Christmas past and opens up a sentimental journey that marks the course of our life as a family.

My reason for sharing this is to ask you all to take the time to reflect on the things that you put up around your homes. Take time to enjoy the moments reflected from life’s journey. These items are only up for a short period of time. At my house we always comment at some point that we have too many items and need to get rid of some. But come early January, we wrap them up again and put them away for another year. Each time we unwrap them will mark another year in our journey—one that reminds us of the course of time, but also the comfort from the presence of these items we hold dear. Being surrounded by these items brings back feelings of love and support that family and friends have given us throughout the years.

As our Director of Counseling Barbara Benoit and all of the counselors remind us in their efforts at Mindfulness, “Take a deep breath.” We should enjoy the moment and cherish the season—that’s what really matters. Ten years from now, our children may not remember what they were studying at this particular time or what a game or concert was like. But they will look back and remember what this season was like. They will remember what the holiday season meant to them, their families and their personal memories as they grow up.  And as much as this time of the year is always about our children, let’s realize that this season is also about us.

Enjoy this time! I look forward to seeing you at the upcoming concerts. I wish everyone all the very best as the holiday season races ahead.



John M. Thomas