12/23/2010

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year It’s Holiday time in New Haven, and for most suburban communities that I’ve<br />ever been a part of, this means that kids are running around in a state of jolly merriment,<br />teens are being chaperoned to holiday parties at their peers’ houses, and adults are<br />looking forward to a certain amount of irresponsible behavior revolving around eggnog<br />and champagne.<br />All kidding aside, the holidays are usually “the most wonderful time of the year.”<br />Unfortunately, life is not a Christmas carol- not even close. Here in New Haven, our<br />kids at SMPA find themselves torn apart between the excitement of the holidays and the<br />anxiety of their situation.<br /><br />“Who do I spend Christmas with this year? ... Am I going to get presents? ... Is this going<br />to cost too much? ... Something bad happens every year….will this year be different?”<br /><br />That’s what our kids deal with. The capitalistic slant of commercialized-<br />Christmas-present-fervor tugs at their hearts’ delights, but the realistic tension of low-<br />income living situations tugs at their heart strings. I want to be upset at them when they<br />act so incredibly squirrely during these last few days, but I know that the hour they spend<br />in my classroom pales in importance to the other hours they spend at home, with their<br />families.<br />Our goal here at SMPA is simple: Love them until they don’t know anything else.<br />Even when they’re upset, even when they’re squirrely, even when we’re so tired that our<br />eyeballs seem more desiccated than the petrified bugs in the science room. I call us the<br />self-esteem engines, because we keep on going and going, sometimes running on nothing<br />more than our own belief that we’re doing something good in this world.<br />Hope is a dangerous weapon to hold on to. Happy Holidays!<br /><br />-Kin Sims

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