As we come back together after a holiday break, I find myself reflecting on what the start of a new year means. Admittedly, I have never been one for New Years’ resolutions or the notion that we can reset things and all will be well. This is not meant to be a bleak statement but, rather, one that acknowledges the fact that the next while will be challenging – at times perhaps more so than in the past year.
In preparation for this first blog of a new year, I reread the one I wrote to begin 2020. I was struck by the last passage I wrote in it:
“While planning for an unknown future can be complex, we must not lose sight of the power that humaneness can provide. We must ensure that this is front of mind as we educate our girls such that they do, indeed, know the difference from right and wrong and are able to make the positive, powerful, and humane choices when the chips are down.”
It seems that over the last 9 months, the chips have been down. In fact, it feels like they will really ‘be down’ over the coming few months as we ensure ongoing adherence to health protocols while waiting for access to a vaccine. We all wish for some semblance of normalcy, the opportunity for broader in-person connection, the ability to turn to at least some of the ways we “used to” do things.
However, we must also ensure that we do not take our eyes off ever-present issues that have been magnified during this pandemic. Racism that has had a more intense light shone on it, the inequities for working women who have had to pause or give up their work because of lack of childcare opportunities and / or funding, the lack of affordable housing, and the serious climate change implications that our children will be dealing with in the future to name a few.
Again – this is not meant to sound bleak. Here is where my hope rises. We are, perhaps with thanks to the pandemic, staring with more awakened realization at the issues around us; as I wrote last year, now is the time for us to remember just how powerful humaneness can be. It is here that our work must heighten. We are a strong community that has an opportunity to make a difference. It is our responsibility to ensure that we are, at all turns, reflecting on issues of inequity that arise and addressing them with humaneness; that we model this for our girls and challenge them to do the same.
While there is a lot riding on this new year, I am hopeful that if we are prepared to be humane- and challenge the things that are not, there is new hope.
I wish you all a hopeful New Year.