Dear St. Michael’s Parents and Families—
Please find below (1) my summary comments from this past Monday’s chapel on Peace, our theme and value for the month of November; and (2) a link provided by Catherine Gioanetti, MD, a member of our school’s Board of Trustees, a former SMS parent, and a practicing pediatrician here in Tucson, on the alarmingly harmful effects of extended screen time on the mental and emotional development of children.
Please review all important information in this week’s Eagle Express. Thank you.
Comments from Monday Chapel, November 26, 2018
This month’s value, or theme, is peace. How appropriate and essential peace is at any time of the year, though it gets extra special attention around this time of the year, at Christmas. But Christmas is still almost a month away. Halloween, however, was a little less than a month ago, and Thanksgiving is still fresh in our memories from just last week. So we’re in seasonal limbo, in a way, and I thought it would be appropriate to linger awhile longer in this spirit of fall and talk a little bit about a fantastic book called Six Crows, about a farmer and some birds and the harvesting of peace.
(The author, Leo Leonni, intended the book for a young readership [K-3], but this is a great book for all ages. Here is a link to a review from Publishers Weekly: https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-394-89572-7). The story is a fable, a work of fiction, with animals used as characters to help convey, or communicate, a truth, a moral, a lesson about human behavior. In the case of Six Crows, the main characters are a farmer and a group of crows, six to be exact, each side waging war with the other over a field of wheat.
In hopes of keeping the crows away and protecting his precious wheat, the farmer puts up two very menacing scarecrows in his field. And the cunning birds, in turn, build a leaf monster, in the form of a kite, to scare the farmer and keep him away, so they might have free rein in the field. And this goes on and on throughout the story, day after day, each side trying to instill fear in the other to get what they want—the birds, to devour the wheat; the farmer, to protect it. Then a wise owl appears, observes the conflict, and suggests a truce. The owl ultimately succeeds at convincing both sides that the only way to avoid certain mutual defeat—the wheat dying from lack of care because everyone is focused on outdoing the other, and so everyone is going hungry—is to find peace through compromise: a way to work together to get what each wants and needs. I won’t spoil the ending; you’ll have to read it yourself to find out the brilliant compromise they come up with. . . with the help of their dear and very wise friend, the owl.
In any given day or week or month or year, each of us plays the role of the hungry crow, or the provincial farmer (or, better yet, as I would hope, the owl) in the interest of ‘the wheat,’ those things that we sometimes go to unkind lengths to get or to protect. More of this or that, or less of this or that, with little concern perhaps for the effects our actions and words might have on others. So, especially when we’re behaving like farmers and crows, let’s be wise owls, and ultimately find ways to plant and harvest the seeds of peace and kindness and compromise with each other, here at school, at home, everywhere we go, so that we may ALL be fed.
Online Link from Psychology Today, “How the Tech Industry Uses Psychology to Hook Children”
As noted above, I am grateful to Dr. Catherine Gioannetti for providing the link below on the deleterious impact of screen time, and the intentional and highly effective strategies that tech companies use to ‘hook’ children into the habit of using more and more media. I encourage all of you to read the relatively short but highly insightful article, in hopes that it will encourage you to take a closer look at appropriate limits for media use at home.