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Rabbi Schuck Thanks Nursery School for Wonderful Year

06/14/2017 12:07:52 PM

Jun14

Rabbi David Schuck sent this letter to nursery school staff last week as they wrapped up their year. We wanted to share and echo the big, warm thank you the entire staff at the Nursery School for another stellar year.

In the Nursery School... our eggs are hatching and new life emerges. Today there were two little ducklings born in the fours class, and last week, other eggs hatched. The kids are overwhelmed with excitement, and we need their excitement as a gentle rebuke to those of us who are so caught up in the stresses of daily life that we forget just how wondrous it is to be alive. Children return that wonder to us, and we are better off for it.

In a lyrical essay entitled “Sister Turtle,” the poet Mary Oliver describes her encounter with a snapping turtle nesting her eggs near a local pond. She writes, “She sees me, and does not move. The eyes, though they throw small light, are deeply alive and watchful. If she had to die in this hour and for this enterprise, she would, without hesitation.” When we encounter the delicate nature of life and the glorious ways in which so many living beings inhabit this world, we are reminded to be grateful for the gift of being a part of that ecosystem. What a privilege it is to be the only creature who is conscious of that blessing. After all, turtles and ducklings can’t write poetry. But how often we forget to be grateful for the gift of life…

Mary Oliver has a line in this essay that could be the motto of an early childhood educator. Referring to the “immeasurable fund of thoughts and ideas, from writers and thinkers long gone into the ground,” she summarizes what they have taught her: “to observe with passion, to think with patience, to live always caringly.”

I am thankful for our hatchlings.

I am thankful that watching one with our twos class returned a sense of wonder to my life.

I am thankful for the work that you each do, day in and day out. 
I know that it takes discipline to observe with passion, think with patience, and live always caringly. I know that you do this so that you can see beyond the runny noses and the grabbing and the tantrums in order to help our children cultivate wonder and gratitude, which as you know, are the building blocks of a spiritual life. Thank you for doing this, and doing it masterfully.
For me, the “immeasurable fund of thoughts and ideas” is the Jewish textual tradition which urges us to say a blessing when we experience a wondrous moment in nature. The silent blessing that I whispered in the classroom last week with the kids was a prayer of gratitude for each one of you. Thank you.

Mon, May 20 2019 15 Iyyar 5779