Headmaster’s Thoughts – December 2016

‘Tis the season to be stressed out, Fa la la la la, la la la.   Who should we give presents to?  Have we given enough?  Will the newspaper ever be delivered again if we give too little?  Will our car be buried deep in the garage, so that the attendants will never find it?  Are we doomed to see our garbage forever?

Jayme and I do not give each other birthday presents or seasonal presents or cards printed by the Hallmark Company.  I have written before that Humpty Dumpty had it right, that unbirthday presents are much better than birthday presents because there are so many more unbirthday days (364 in a normal year and 365 in a leap year.)  So the general rule we have is that if we see something that we think our spouse would like, and it is within whatever budgetary considerations we have, we get it and give it as a gift.  On the actual day of the birthday/anniversary/ season, we just say “Happy – (fill in the blank)”!

Lest I get too pious (and hypocritical) about this, I must admit that earlier in our relationship, we did make more of a deal about these occasions.  Obviously that was because we were more insecure that we would make it to the next one.  “My goodness, we have been married for 5 years!” we proudly exclaimed.  This was followed by, “My goodness, it has been 10 years!”  Trust me that after 40 years, the surprise wears off.  It is the same with birthdays.  There comes an age when birthdays cease to have the wonder and joy of grand occasions and become quieter times of reflection and consideration of when the next colonoscopy is due.

I give up taking into account of how long we have run the school except to say that most of our students’ parents were born after we started it.  Fact!  Maybe most of them believe that the Big Bopper was a hamburger (he died with Buddy Holly in a plane crash.)  I say this with no feeling of superiority; quite the opposite.  We all have our go on the swings, and, unfortunately, the singer of “Chantilly Lace” had his cut short.  But think of the iconic music stars of today and, one day, you too may wonder how many people remember them.  He (Big Bopper) died with Buddy Holly, the one with heavy-rimmed glasses.  The Crickets?  “Peggy Sue”?  “That’ll Be the Day”?  Oh, never mind!  Don’t smirk…we smirk, and then we become the people we smirk at.  If I am around when others begin smirking at you, I will welcome you to the club.

So, at this season of whatever, just let us lean back, ignore the soppy stuff, give thanks for what we have and enjoy the ones we love, buy them presents whenever we wish, create our own daily timetable which has little to do with Hallmark Cards, (I really have nothing against the Hallmark Company, I just do not want to be manipulated by them on Valentine’s Day.) and generally take it as it comes.  It comes quickly, and each moment is to be treasured.

“Fa la la la, la la la la.”  And Happy – (fill in the blank) to you all!

Ronald. P. Stewart


York Prep School