Happy New Year! What a delight to return to the smiling faces of children eager to reunite with friends and teachers. Seeing them frolic on our new turf reminded me that even the changes we cannot see can contribute to the betterment of our community. When we left for break there was a field, and when we returned there was a field, but the improvement of the field is part of the incremental changes that are making Turning Point a better place for our students.
My family and I spent time backpacking on Catalina Island over the break. It is deeply satisfying to carry everything you need to survive a few days in nature, and to realize that the fundamentals are pretty basic: food and water, shelter, warm clothes, books, and chocolate. I also learned that, if we make a family pact not to complain during challenging hikes, my son Miles (Level 2) has a repertoire of songs like, “keep your eyes on the prize” and “you can do it, it’s in your mind.” He learned those songs of resilience at Turning Point!
We camped near the beach, listening at night to the crashing of the waves and barking of sea lions. Our hikes, up and down treacherous terrain, offered us the opportunity to reflect on the past year and to think about what we might expect in the new year. As I begin the second half of my first year at Turning Point, I have been thinking about new opportunities for our community. To that end, I hope you will join me for more in-depth conversations about where we have been and where we are going at my State of the School Address on Thursday, January 26 at 6:00 pm.
The symbolism of a new year is powerful. We slough off the old year like a snake sheds its skin, and we revel in the possibilities of a fresh start. We make resolutions to do things differently, and the new year offers a natural turning point to reset. At dinner the other night, my son Jack (Level 6) suggested that we share our resolutions. He wants to work on organization and attention, and I was impressed that at Turning Point he has developed some level of meta-cognition about his learning. Miles wants to be kinder and generous more consistently, values I see carried out here every day. I want to carve out more time to think and to develop more patience.
I hope we will all see our resolutions through. I was glad to learn that, according to a Clinical Psychology study, people who commit to resolutions are ten times more likely to change their behavior than those who do not. More discouraging statistics: 54% of people who make resolutions give them up within six months; and only 8% see them through for a whole year.
Yet, there is value in understanding our challenges and capitalizing on our strengths to address them. We want to set our children up for success and, if they are volunteering to work on their issues, we should find ways to support them. Research suggests that success is predicated upon limiting the number of resolutions and establishing specific plans to undertake them. Self-control is a finite resource, so we must deploy it carefully. Choose one goal at a time, break the resolution into specific behaviors that can become good habits, and practice those behaviors every day. Goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound).
Another meaning of resolve is to bring goals into focus. Just as I am eager to work on my own personal goals and resolutions, I am as enthusiastic as ever to continue working with the Turning Point community to distill all your impressions and ideas into quantifiable, attainable, and focused goals for the future—a collective vision that will continue to guide us towards exciting new territory as we embrace the possibilities of the new year ahead.
Dr. Laura Konigsberg
Head of School