It’s not even Halloween and already, Toys R Us has their holiday Wish List out. It’s online, it’s on social media, and, worst of all, it is IN THE MAIL! Perhaps many of my readers’ daughters are too old to snatch that catalog out of the mail pile, but I have a five year old and so, when it arrived, Toys R Us was high on my list of things I do not like…at least for a few days! It’s not that I do not like Christmas; I love it. And it is not like I haven’t started my Christmas shopping; I am in fact almost finished. (Thank you, Zulily!) It’s this idea of a Wish List, arriving at the house, telling children what they should want this year (and let’s look at the price tags of some of those items) instead of giving children the opportunity to dream, to reflect, and to really wish for something that their heart desires, not what the catalogs or commercials are telling them they want.
And so, what does the Wish List contain this year? A few highlights, if you will indulge me. For girls; a “Tall Mall” Shopkins case for $34.99. Just what we need, a box that opens in the front so the hundreds of Shopkins that I have stuffed in a Ziploc bag can tumble out and get sucked up in the vacuum cleaner! And then we have the Num Noms Lip Gloss Truck, priced at $32.99 which allows for girls age 3 and up to make their own lip gloss using some lovely scented sticky gel. Wonder if it will ever wash off my couch? And just what is a Num Nom anyway? For boys we have the Intratech Imperial Stormtrooper; 12 inches tall and $24.99. He says 65 phrases and, well…I am not quite sure from the description what else he does. And then, we have the “hot toy” for youngsters, so new it is not priced yet…The PJ Masks Headquarter Play set! It is three feet tall; figures NOT included, of course and I am thinking before this toy ever made its way down my chimney, first, I would need a better explanation of exactly what PJ Masks is?! I have watched it a few times; are they kids? Are they superheroes? Are they kids pretending to be superheroes? Thank goodness I was ahead of the game when I snatched up the Shimmer and Shine Magic Carpet back in May on Zulily. That toy is listed as “currently not available” on Fisher Price. My point here is that there does not seem to be anything on this list that will be played with for any real length of time. A storage case? A solo action figure the size of a ruler? I am not seeing the toys that create memories; the baby doll that gets carried to church on Christmas morning, the cowboy hat that leads to hours of pretend play. Those of a certain age may, like me, miss the element of surprise that once came with the Christmas holidays, when you woke up unsure if those wishes were going to come true!
A natural transition from the childhood wishes is what we, parents, educators, school leaders, wish for our children as they grow out of that “Toys R Us” stage and into the high school setting. We wish for their happiness, their ability to fit in, to make friends, to excel in academics and athletics; in short to grow from children into confident young adults, who in turn take their childhood dreams and desires and shape them into future goals.
At Saint Dominic Academy, we may not be able to grant wishes with a wave of a wand, but we work very hard to ensure that those intangible high school dreams and wishes do come true for the young women who walk our halls. A chance to lead; as president of the NHS or Student Council, a chance to shine, as the star of “Annie” or a Christmas soloist in the Dominoes, a chance to compete, as the captain of the basketball team or the pitcher on the softball field, and chance to express oneself, as an artist, a poet, a photographer or a writer in our art and literary offerings. Most importantly, we provide a chance to excel; with 9 AP classes and many Honors level classes on all grade levels, so students can choose where their strongest interests lie and pursue advanced classes in those areas. Like the daydreams that beloved toys from childhood once inspired, these opportunities offered to the young ladies in grades 7-12 here at Saint Dominic Academy will help to shape their futures, to guide them on their college and career paths, and to motivate each girl to achieve her personal “Wish List”, wherever it takes her. We do not presume to lay an individual’s dreams out in a catalog and tell her what she “should” want. Instead, we allow the space to grow and learn, so that each girl determines on her own what she wishes for herself. And, we give them time to dream, to imagine, to picture all the possibilities; we do not rush the “season”, so to speak and instead give them 6 years, if they begin as 7th graders to see what the future holds.
The holidays are wonderful; in their season. I won’t rush the season myself and I promise; no more writing about Christmas until after Thanksgiving!