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The Privilege of Generativity

I am smiling as I begin writing this early September blog. We are excited to be commencing another year and another opportunity to work with our Clementines from Grades 1-12. I see our work at St. Clement’s as a privilege. We have the wonderful opportunity not only to teach our girls, but also to learn from and alongside them.

Over the summer, I read a wonderful book entitled On The Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity and Getting Old by Parker Palmer. While the title might seem daunting, Palmer’s writing and insights are- as always- thought-provoking and wise.

Palmer writes about the six birthday lessons he gave to himself in his late seventies. He suggests that if the reader takes away even one, then his next birthday will be even better.

All of Palmer’s lessons were poignant. One, in particular, speaks to why we are privileged to work at St. Clement’s.

Palmer reflects on what psychologist Erik Erikson wrote about old age and the importance of generativity. As Palmer writes, “Generativity means something more than creativity. It means turning toward the rising generation, offering whatever we know they might find useful- and, even more important, learning from them.”

As we start a new year with our girls and young women from ages 6 to 17, we prepare our curriculum and we reflect on our pedagogy to ensure that we provide our girls with an excellent and rigorous academic experience. However, we are also prepared to learn from our girls: to listen, to observe and to appreciate all that they bring to our community.

We look forward to welcoming our community members – new and returning – this week, and, to all, I wish a happy new year.

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