Andy Blum, LCSW, Early Childhood-5th Grade Counselor

Congratulations!  You did it, I did it, we did it.   We made it to the end of this very tough year!  We did something that we had never done before.  We had no blueprint, no warning label, no preparation, yet we survived and our children survived.

At the end of this year, as with any year, we need to be able to say goodbye and find a way to honor the school year.  One way of doing this as conscious discipline teaches is through ritual.  Ritual is different from routine.  Routines provide predictability which give us safety.  In contrast, rituals provide connectivity, unity and togetherness.

In the Jewish religion, we have many rituals.  We light the candles and bless the challah to bring in Shabbat.  We give our children bar/bat mitzvahs to commemorate their coming of age.  These rituals bring us together and honor transitions and special moments.  Rituals are tools that allow us to take responsibility for the direction and purpose of our lives.  They help us structure our lives and give us a sense of stability and continuity amidst this chaotic uncertain world in which we currently find ourselves.

Our normal year-end rituals have been cancelled, postponed, or altered in ways that, in some cases, are unrecognizable.  Just because we can’t celebrate our regular year-end rituals, it doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate.

In my fourth grade classes, they are making time capsules and have a graduation celebration.  In my other classes, the ritual we are doing is to reflect back and talk about how this year was different. We discussed the things the children liked this year, memories they had from this year, what they wished could have been different and what their goals are for next year.  Many of the teachers are using the ritual of celebration in their final zoom classes, and graduation for both PRE-K and eighth grade are taking place in new and creative ways.  

At home, you can have your own ritual to mark this very significant ending.  You can make your own time capsule or memory book, make a cake, or attend the Parent Association parade.  Let us make this most significant ending and honor all our accomplishments this year.

Mazel tov!  Yasher Koach!  

Wishing you all a wonderful summer, and see you in the fall.