A new year has arrived with the tradition of a fresh start, new goals, and a hopeful future. Hear, hear, especially for 2021! The same can be said for the beginning of a new semester, which begins on Thursday, January 21. With all the challenges of 2020, what should be different for 20201? The answer is to approach those challenges with self compassion.
Often the new year's fresh start begins by looking at the past, noticing all that was not achieved and the goals that were not met, despite one's desire and best efforts. But this tends to become self criticism. I know if someone were to call me lazy and unfocused, telling me that I needed to pay attention more and put in more effort, or if someone were to say that I am bad at my job, my house is messy, and my children do not behave well...well, that would not motivate me to want to do better. Fortunately no one has said these words to me. But while one may not hear those words from others, one's mind does often spin the stumbles and tells us these thougths without needing to say a single word. Doubt creeps in, and I begin to think that I cannot achieve the goals I set and that it just is not even worth the effort. See, you weren't able to achieve it last year, so why put forth the energy this year?
From the work of Kristin Neff, an author, researcher, and professor, we learn that self criticism is not healthy and leads to shutting down, feeling hollow or shamed. It then becomes harder to see or hear the actual truth and harder to be motivated to try again. When someone with the best intentions offers support, that self criticism has built a shell so those geniune words are not heard as support but are rather interpreted as more of the same: reinforcement of what one has already been telling her/himself. See, it is just like I was thinking. They think it too.
Instead, now is the time to support one another, and it begins with self compassion. By being open to accepting myself, including all my imperfections, then I can help others do the same. I am more motivated to try again, I will try harder and persist longer, I am more likely to pick myself up when I fail, and I will have more grit and determination in the future. When I can see that this compassion is not contingent on my past (behaviors, failures, or successes), I am better able to do the same for someone else. This self-compassion leads to compassion for others, and this is what makes Spectrum Middle School a great place because we work daily to demonstrate that to ourselves and to others.
No matter the challenges, circumstances, and situations your son or daughter had the first semester, everyone learned: content (academics) and, for sure, life (social, emotional). Everyone stumbles and many fall, but it is time to offer a hand up and say, “How can I help you?” As a system, Spectrum recognizes life is full of criticism, but with the dawn of the new semester, instead of using our Defense System (fight, flight, freeze), we are making plans to use our Self-Care System (compassion), and we are better equipped than ever because of 2020's experiences. Here's to self-compassion helping each and every one of us this second semeter.
Weeks at a Glance
- Tuesday, January 12: Virtual Information Night (#2) @ 5:30 pm → ask for a link
- Friday, January 15: End of first semester
- Monday, January 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day / Grading Day - no school
- Tuesday, January 19: Professional Development / Second Semester Preparation - no school
- Wednesday, January 20: Advisory, 10:00am - student second semester preparation
- Thursday, January 21: Semester Two begins - A Day (Th/F cluster)
- NOTE: If you have children who wish to join their siblings here at Spectrum or know of others interested in attending Spectrum next year (2021-2022) please make sure to submit an application for enrollment by January 31, 2021, to be included in the February 16, 2021, lottery @ Spectrum Application Link. Contact Christy Siegel, Registrar at email@example.com or 763-450-9859 with any questions.