When the fifth and sixth graders returned to school after their break, I had them write a short summary of their holidays for an English assignment. I wanted it to be a slightly different writing task than what they had done for teachers in the past. I asked them to do two things, specifically. First, I wanted them to reflect on their holidays and to think about their many blessings. I asked them to choose one thing for which they were grateful, and I told them it didn't have to necessarily be a gift they were given. Second, I asked that the children think of something that was on their heart during the holidays. So many people are less fortunate than we are, and I wanted them to feel sympathetic towards those who perhaps didn't have a wonderful Christmas. I used the example of the fires in Australia, and told the children that it was something I prayed about incessantly over the holidays.
Many of the children wrote very thoughtful essays and I was proud to see such heartfelt words, but two students in particular, both girls in the sixth grade, stood out. Here are their essays.
"Over break, I got to spend a lot of time with my family and friends. My aunt, cousins, uncle, grandma, brother, and parents had a big Christmas dinner and all held hands and said our family prayer. I also got to make an awesome tree fort with my friends across the street which was a lot of fun. I am really thankful for these things because sometimes it is really busy and you don’t always get a lot of free time to spend with your family and friends.
One thing that has really been on my heart over the holidays is that there are people that don’t know Jesus. When you don’t know Jesus, you don’t have anything to fulfill you, and you don’t have anyone to lean on like you can with Christ. Jesus plays such a big role in my life, and I can’t imagine living without my Christian faith. We are so lucky to know who Jesus is and that he saved us from our sins. I will always try to pray for those that don’t know Christ."
"This break I spent a lot of time with my family. I am so happy that I have so many people that love and care for me. I got many presents this Christmas and I loved them all.
One thing that I definitely have been thinking about lately is how lucky I am to live in this country and have an awesome religion. Many people around the world have a religion where they have to do certain things for their “gods” to approve of them, such as let nobody see their hair or make offerings to them. They may even start wars because their “gods” want them to. We are so lucky that we can go take a walk around the block and let our hair blow in the wind. We can do what we want with our lives and we are so lucky for that.
My break was amazing and I am very happy with Christmas this year."