Another Week Beyond – 2152

Beyond Another Week Beyond, community

Dear friends,

For more than 20 years now, we have been organising a year-end ritual we call a Celebration of Learning, to acknowledge the learning achievements of young people as well as their caregivers. These events have been held in auditoriums, hotel function rooms and community halls where gifts were presented, and a sumptuous meal was served. All done to impress on those who came that their achievements, modest as they may be, mattered.

This ritual continued these past 2 years online or in decentralised fashion and, in many ways, it seemed even more meaningful for the young people and their families.  In one neighbourhood, we provided parents the funds to organise their own appreciation event and it was heart-warming as each family posted photographs on the group chat how they celebrated their children’s learning efforts. A day-out at the bowling alley, a boat ride, and a picnic were some of the different celebrations but what came across in similar vein was the pride and joy of doing something together as a family.

Celebrating achievements are so important for our wellbeing. As part of an online celebration held by another neighbourhood, every family present was given a cake to decorate.  We were deeply touched when a 13-year-old girl, decorated the cake with the words, “I am so proud!” She was determined to pass her Primary School Leaving Examination on her second try, and she succeeded. She seems to have discovered a sense self-belief and we will continue to support her as she begins secondary education.

I guess it is easy to appreciate success and we are likely to think that those who do well deserve their rewards. On Monday, a long-time friend of our work offered to spread some Christmas cheer anonymously and my first request was a lunch treat to appreciate some mothers who had been working hard all year to support their families. As I write this now, I am thinking that I recommended these women because I appreciate hard work and I seem to be assessing who is deserving of goodwill and who is now.

Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All Men should simply be what it means and even if it is just for a day, I would  consider it a miracle. What would we think of the 13-year-old girl if she did not succeed on her second try? What emotions will we experience if she were a member of our family or is someone close to us? Can we really appreciate others simply for who they are and not what they have achieved or can do for us? Can we appreciate and accept ourselves simply for who we are?

So tomorrow, our friend will be providing a Christmas lunch for 250 neighbours, some young, some old and simply because goodwill is for all.

Merry Christmas!

Sincerely,

Gerard