A Word from Mr. Nunan
Stepping off the Treadmill
Rare in life are those moments when we can say to ourselves, “I’m done! I’m finished! We did it! We made it!”
The end of an academic semester—whether in high school or in grad school—is one of those times. Let’s honor that and celebrate that.
Many of us, as adults, look back over the last decades and know that there has really never been a “break” like the one we experienced at the end of a semester in college. Our lives are no longer on the academic calendar; there is always one more thing; there is always the next obligation, expectation, duty, deadline, etc. It never ends.
But for our scholars, they have reached a real milestone—the end of the school year! All of the assignments and worksheets, papers and labs, and quizzes and tests—and, yes, even the final exams—are done… totally done!
As we move into the summer, let’s all take a break… a real break. Let’s honor the fact that we successfully completed a busy, productive, and sometimes grueling school year, and let’s celebrate the reality that we did so positively and successfully!
In the coming days and weeks, I recommend ten specific ways of cherishing this sacred time. These suggestions are directed primarily to our scholars, but I know I’ll be trying more than a few of them.
Top Ten Ways to “Take a Break” and Acknowledge the Finish:
1. Read over the teacher comments and review the grades for the year, quarter by quarter, and feel a deep sense of satisfaction for your consistent, relentless efforts.
2. Look back on the year, as a whole, reflecting on where you were last September and where you are this June… recognize the growth, the change, and the development.
3. Spend time in silence, by yourself, replaying some of the more pivotal and essential moments of the year, and be fully present to what you have learned about yourself.
4. Go out to dinner with family… and again with friends… grab breakfast together… get ice cream one night… and acknowledge that you have made it through another year.
5. Rest, relax, and do nothing for some short period of time… take a nap… sleep in… be sure to “recharge” after working so hard during the busy days and long nights.
6. Go for a walk or a run—a stroll through the park or a jog along the Charles… do something to get outside, to enjoy nature and (finally…) the coming of spring.
7. Read for pleasure… find a great book and lose yourself in it… go to the movies, see a concert, visit a museum… rediscover the restorative power of distraction... and of beauty.
8. Write down a few notes about what you would like to do and who you want to be next year, about your goals and dreams for the near future… and about how you can achieve them… then leave them aside for the summer, and revisit them in the fall.
9. Take a few moments to remember the most important relationships in your life, and to be grateful for the many ways in which others have led you to this moment… and then share some word of thanks, in person or in writing, with someone special.
10. Pray… thank God for the blessings in your life, and take the time to name those blessings…and then simply rest in God’s presence, saying nothing… be at peace and let the One who is Life fill you with life and light and joy and hope… for you are loved.
Whatever you do, be sure to get off of the proverbial treadmill. Life is too short. And it offers us too few of these graced opportunities, too few of these clear “breaks” in the action.
Enjoy your summer. Blessings to you, to your family, and to everyone in our SJP Family!