Getting to the Heart of It
November 9, 2017 by
Most of us have habits of giving – the Friday tzedakah box, the monthly paycheck deduction, the yearly gifts. We instill in our children the same habit – splitting an allowance, dropping a quarter into the box. We do what we can, and when we give, we say something about who we are and what we value. But alongside habit and responsibility are beatings of the heart. It may be an urgent need that pulls us, demanding our attention – or it may be the swelling of gratitude as we look at our children. As I watch my own son grow into a young adult, my heart fills with wonder and thanks for the MILTON (or JPDS as it were) community he’s grown up in.
In the coming days, we’ll be calling on parents with information about Ru’ach Week and the Annual Ru’ach Campaign. In a few weeks we’ll call on the extended MILTON community. “Ru’ach” is the energy and joy that drives and fulfills us. This campaign is important to the school, and it’s very much about giving from the heart.
When Nepal was hit by a devastating earthquake, MILTON students sprang into action, washing cars, selling lemonade, and contributing their allowances to the relief effort. They raised over $1500, and connected their efforts to discussions of current events as well as what they were learning in science and geography. Those students were exercising their responsibility to perform tikkun olam. But it was different from their Shabbat tzedakah habit. They were moved from the heart, and their efforts were also about the privilege of being able to make a difference. They could imagine and implement a variety of ways to achieve their goal, and as they worked to alleviate the suffering of others, they were ever mindful of their own blessings.
At MILTON I wear three hats – that of an eight-year parent, an alumni parent, and now a staff member committed to the school’s continued strength and robust community engagement. I’m exceedingly proud of what we do here. I’m proud of our top-notch faculty, and the school’s commitment to professional support and development. I’m grateful for the resources we bring to bear, in and beyond the classroom, to create a dynamic and purposeful learning environment.
It’s not by accident that our students, parents, and even outside observers describe MILTON as a family, where the sense of community, participation, and activism shines through. We are all partners and participants in our children’s education. In terms of giving, we are all invested.
Next week begins Ru’ach Week for MILTON parents. You’ll see the Advancement Team and parent volunteers in the school halls sporting green shirts and ru’ach swag. Join us in sharing the spirit, soul, joy, and excitement of MILTON. Let this be a week of giving focused on the heart – a time to step back and really notice the spirit in our children and in our community, and to give in a way that says, “this is valuable.”