December 2012 Daily dailygenius

Posted on November 13, 2013

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New Year’s Eve 2012

Realised today that spending time in the bath, reading your old blogposts on personal matters, putting them out to lovely people on twitter and chatting about them is the perfect way to get into the New Year spirit.

Happy New Year to all you lovely people on twitter or the blogosphere.

Sunday 30th December 2012

Tonight I’ve done the unthinkable and deleted a few of these miniposts from the last week or two. The reason? They were too introspective and too bloody negative and I couldn’t bear looking at them. So here’s my moment of dailygenius for today…

For all that twitter and blogging are bloody brilliant things they are not the places to go to when you’re feeling glum. People are lovely when you put out a sad tweet or blog, which gives you that instant glow but it quickly dissipates because its transient and the timeline swiftly moves on in a way the gloominess doesn’t.

So the next time I’m in danger of being gloomy (and it’s unlikely to be for a while) I’m going to turn to the real people in my life, including those I have come to know and trust through twitter, or fill my time with something far less introspective (going out, watching a film, reading a book) that allows me to hear about others rather than myself.

Christmas Day 2012

Okay I have now officially got grumpy out of my system. The reason for my grumpiness was going to be a whole blogpost on the one time of the year that I let pessimism into my soul. Suffice it to say that I find the whole giving gifts thing awful, especially seeing how the ‘arms race’ for presents for my daughter can create rifts between others and between her usual thankful self and the child that replaces her when so many gifts are given in a single day. No matter how many times I tell people that a token present and a contribution to her Uni fund would be ideal, they prefer the sea of plastic and here-today-gone-tomorrowness of a contemporary Christmas.

But I’ve shrugged that off (seeing her settle down to her Kindle and begin reading was balm to my soul) and now am happy again. Happy to spend time with my nearest and dearest. Happy to receive cuddles and kisses. Happy to spend time with Millie and her plastic prezzies even, as she begins to find the fun in each of them.

And as for the blog. Gone. I’m not one to add to the copious quantities of maudlin misery that are out there any more than I have to. I inflicted it on the world last night. Let’s hope that it’s at least 364 days till I do so again. Merry Christmas everybody.

Sunday 23rd December 2012

Christmas only ever really starts for me once term ends. I can’t join in the festivities when there are still things to be done at work and sometimes (like this year) I can’t even bring myself to prepare for Christmas until school breaks up. All of which has made this weekend so important in getting ready for the week that is to come. Yesterday was about the emotional preparation by connecting again with friends and family. Today has been about the practical preparation, from cleaning the house to wrapping the presents to the big supermarket visit (much more entertaining this year with my twitter generals keeping me going).

And now I’m ready. Now I’m Christmassy. Now I’m festive. So bring on the family arrivals, bring on the parties, bring on the alcohol and food in copious quantities. And in among all that, bring on the special feelings of connection and consideration. They’re the things I like best of all.

Saturday 22nd December 2012

The loveliest thing happened to me today. Having had a wonderful day out with some friends we made when our daughters went to nursery together, we were travelling back on a very packed tube train. Our friends’ daughter, Kiera, managed to squeeze her way across the carriage and wrapped her arms around Millie whilst having a chat about who was the oldest child in their class. There was something really sweet about these children – who don’t see each other very often since Kiera’s parents have moved back to their native North West – having such an earnest discussion whilst entwined with each other.

And then something gorgeous happened: Kiera turned to me and gave me a cuddle too. She said nothing and she didn’t hold it for long before returning to her parents’ care, but it made me feel tremendously special. Maybe we should all embrace our inner eight-year old and take the time to give people who aren’t our closest friends a quick embrace to show them that we think they’re important to us in however small a way.

Friday 21st December 2012

Today was a procession of positives through my life. Many of them were professional and these were fab. But a couple were just people being funny and nice and generally knowing me and being able to express it in a way that shows that they ‘know’ me.

So a message for me in the new year and new term is to take the time to do something unreservedly nice for people, especially those I can’t claim to know particularly well. Such kindnesses give to the giver as much, and possibly more, than they give to the recipient.

Thursday 20th December

Was tweeting out #crychoons in light of conversations with people from twitter and then someone posted Talk Talk and “Life’s What You Make It”. What a fabulous song, and yet it’s not even their best for me, because I love the amazing “It’s My Life”. And here’s the reason why:

Funny how I blind myself
I never knew
If I was sometimes played upon
Afraid to lose

I’d tell myself
What good you do
Convince myself

It’s my life
Don’t you forget
It’s my life
It never ends
(It never ends)

I’ve asked myself
How much do you
Commit yourself?

It’s my life
Don’t you forget
Caught in the crowd
It never ends

That is all.

Wednesday 19th December 2012

For the first time in a long time I have felt blocked this week, and I really don’t mean the person I talk about in the December 7th minipost (see below).

But as a very wise person once told me “If there is a wall in front of you there are so many ways past it”.

So here’s to jumping over the blocks, running round them, tunnelling under them and, if it is needed, simply smashing through them. Just maybe after Christmas, eh?

Tuesday 18th December 2012

One of my favourite poems seems apt for today’s minipost. This is ‘Split the Lark’ by Emily Dickinson.

Split the Lark–and you’ll find the Music–
Bulb after Bulb, in Silver rolled–
Scantily dealt to the Summer Morning
Saved for your Ear when Lutes be old.

Loose the Flood–you shall find it patent–
Gush after Gush, reserved for you–
Scarlet Experiment! Sceptic Thomas!
Now, do you doubt that your Bird was true?

And why have I summoned the wonderful Dickinson tonight? Perhaps to remind my overly active mind, that finds something in everything, not to dissect the positives or indeed the negatives of life too much. Whether the the music is discordant or harmonious, cacophonous or soothing, treat the two imposters the same.

The lark of my life has shown many times that at the very moment it sounds like little more than a startling shriek it is never more likely to usher forth a magnificent melody, and I can never understand how or why that happens. But then the joy of life is in the living, not in the understanding.

Monday 17th December 2012

GOSH! moments. I’ve had a few of then today. Moments when I’m stunned by something unexpected. Moments when I’m renewed in my sense of purpose and direction. Moments when I know that it has all been worth it.

I suspect things are going to get quieter after Friday and that I’ll have fewer GOSH! moments over the following two weeks as the Christmas holidays come to fill up my life and the batteries get recharged, having been drained repeatedly over the last four months.

Maybe it’s needed? Maybe we can have too many of these GOSH! moments? Maybe we need some GOSH!lessness from time to time so that we can revel in GOSH!fulness and appreciate it all the more?

I’m not so sure. I’m a big fan of GOSH! moments and I look forward to renewing my acquaintance with them in January even as I wearily wave them off in December.

Saturday 15th December 2012

Tonight I was reminded about how lovely men can be. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes I allow my experiences from the past to colour my conceptualisation of men in the abstract form in a negative way. At other times I allow my natural predeliction for the company of women to allow me to drift away from the company of men, rendering them inconsequential to a certain extent.

Don’t get me wrong. I do spend time with men and the monthly ‘Dads’ Night Out’ can be legendary. But even that is stereotypically male in nature and I’m not always sure that the tenor of the conversation is something to be proud of the following morning. I try not to worry about that too much.

But last night I found myself in the company of four men (it was a couples’ night out, but we gravitated into gender groups in the pub beforehand) and it was lovely. Maybe it was the moderating influence of the partners nearby, but I think not. Instead I think it was the combination of personality types and the sense of not quite knowing each other well (the only thing we have in common is that fact that we all have lived in the same street at one time or another). Whatever it was it reminded me that I need to be a little less prejudiced against men and realise that some of them have a lot to offer my otherwise female-centric life.

Friday 14th December 2012

Being a dailygenius can be a pain in the backside sometimes. So many people like ideas to be organised much in the same way as supermarket shelves. They like everything in the right aisles and a sense of organisation about how those aisles are organised so that there is a flow to the idea-shopping experience. Once they have found their right aisle they expect to see the different types of products in the same sections and within that a clear demarcation from luxury ideas to branded ideas to supermarket-own ideas to cheap and not-so-cheerful ideas. And finally once they have honed in on their product they like to have good shelf management with neat rows evenly stacked and the older ideas to the front for consumption now and the newer ideas to the back for consumption (maybe) later.

I can live with this, even though my ideas supermarket looks nothing like theirs. In my Kevco Extra there’s no guaranteed flow through the idea aisles and sometimes there’s the antithesis of logical flow (although I try). In my Kevrose there’s no coordination within the aisles and ideas are not demarcated before they go public, but instead run into one another. In my Kevburys there’s an odd approach to ideas management and sometimes the old dusty ideas that people think are out of date make it onto the shelf alongside some of the newer untasted ideas. Sometimes I even take the ideas that are supposedly at their premium and take them off the shelves for reasons I don’t even fully understand myself.

The pain in the backside is that no dailygenius is an island, or a supermarket, and sometimes the lack of flow, coordination and organisation of my ideas get in the way of others. And vice versa. I’ve learned that occasionally I do need to tidy up my shelves, because they’re not just mine. But I’ve also learned that a tidy shelf doesn’t always contain the best products.

Thursday 13th December 2012

Out for a Christmas ‘do’ tonight. Was a good time to reflect on how much my relationships with people have evolved over time, and how much I now love working with them. They have become very special to me.

I’ll miss them over Christmas but am so eager to get going with them again in the new year, with fresh minds and fresh bodies, knowing that even better days lie ahead of us.

Wednesday 12th December 2012

If ever I thought I really was a dailygenius then I’ve just been superseded by my seven year old daughter, who started her blog millieworld.wordpress.com today.

Someone please tell me how it is we’ve come to accept the fallacy that kids are getting less smart than we were or our parents were!?!?

Tuesday 11th December 2012

If I learnt one thing from my mum then it was this nugget of wisdom: if you can’t say something nice then don’t say anything at all. It’s been a message I have carried with me through childhood and into adulthood. Occasionally it may come across to some as a bit naive or childlike or even a bit disingenuous, but it’s none of those things. It’s just good bloody manners. And here’s why I always try (even if I don’t always succeed, perhaps especially because I don’t always succeed) to live life according to that maxim.

Tonight I spent time in the warmest Teachmeet I have experienced to date, with my real colleagues Renata and Iesha and my lovely virtual colleagues such including Gwen, Daniel, Hélène, Lynne, Simon, Ross, Bennie, Leon, Doug, Steven, and all the others that I’ve missed including the gorgeous Mark by Skype. All of them are people going out of their way in their own time at the end of long days at the end of long terms to either present or be presented to. People going out of their way to say something nice. Bless every one of them.

And then I come home and find a request for moderation of a comment on my blog and its from someone going out of their way to tell me that I was “talking shit” about Paul McCartney in an earlier MINIPOST this month. Perhaps they’re right? Maybe they’re not? Maybe it’s just my opinion? But whatever the truth of it, why go out of your way to be insulting? Why not just post a comment questioning my thinking? Why not try and find something nice to say, even as you challenge my talking shitness (and I do talk plenty of shit, as it goes)? Or, if you cannot do that, why not just say nothing?

Monday 10th December 2012

This evening I nearly killed someone. As I drove in the fast lane of a dual carriageway at 40mph someone ran across the slow lane ahead of a car they could see. They then slowed to a saunter in my lane because the first car had blocked me from their sight. For a split second they didn’t know I existed. And then for a split second they did. It was so nearly their last split second.

A figure all in black with dark hair and dark skin on a dimly lit road on a winter’s evening, they were immediately illuminated by my headlights. They broke into a jog, but it wouldn’t have been enough if hadn’t have instinctively swerved and simultaneously braked. I saw them flash by my driver’s window as I swerved back into the fast lane again. It was all so fluid. I don’t remember thinking anything other than “what the fuck?” and yet my brain had fired messages to my eyes, my hands, my feet and heart, messages that saved that ever-so-stupid person’s life. I don’t want to contemplate what might have happened had I been distracted by anything.

And then I drove home fully alert of everything and anything except for what had just happened. And then – once home – came the waves of emotions, one after the other: shock, anger, guilt (yes, guilt) and finally a sadness that nearly 30 years ago the instincts of another man behind the wheel of another car hadn’t managed to successfully make another swerve.

I’m okay now. That sadness has lifted and now I just feel a yawning sense of relief that I don’t have to carry a killing on my conscience. I’m really not sure I could live with that.

Sunday 9th December 2012

Today I managed to get round to reading @tomboulter’s blogpost on passion in teaching. The crux of his argument, as I interpret it, is that a passion for teaching develops over time and that we ought to be wary of expecting new entrants to the profession to be immediately passionate about the job for fear of scaring them from coming in to it in the first place (or staying in it). He talks about how testing those early years of teaching are and of how the passion is formed through the survival of those challenges.

This in turn led to a response from @huntingenglish who advocates in return that younger teachers often do bring a passion to the profession, but also recognises that passion takes many forms and points to a Hattie-esque notion of passion as ‘deliberate practice’.

Bizarrely enough I manage to agree fully with both posts but think that both authors have missed out on the most important elements of the word ‘passion’, it’s etymological origins and its most visible historical example in ‘the passion of the Christ’.

First to the etymology. The word has its roots in ‘suffering’, ‘misery’, ‘woe’, and ‘blame’. This would sit well with Tom’s belief that it is something that is created over time, like a hardened metal that has been tempered in the furnace over time. The word is also rooted in the concept of the ‘enemy’ or ‘devil’, and you don’t need me to tell you how that can link to the teaching profession in the current world-according-to-Gove era. Most fundamentally though, the word ‘passion’ is liked etymologically to the concept of ‘enduring’ and it is in this that both Tom’s and Alex’s posts have resonance. Both agree that the passion doesn’t (or shouldn’t) go away over time in the profession: that it endures and in enduring becomes more enduring (if that’s not the most blatant tautology).

And so to the notion of ‘the passion of the Christ’. I don’t want to portray teachers as messianic, but there is an element of selflessness about the truly passionate members of our profession, as the health and wellbeing of too many of our colleagues can testify. And there is an element of public humiliation in the way we are sometimes pilloried by the politicians and persecuted by the press.

All of which explains why I feel there is an air of the passionate in pretty much all teachers, be they the newbies of Alex’s post or the old soaks of Tom’s. But it’s a passion that isn’t all romance and chocolates, as the modern incarnation of passionate meaning romantic love would indicate. Instead it’s a passion that is often drenched in the blood, sweat and tears of a profession that suffers, endures and keeps on coming back for more.

Saturday 8th December 2012

There’s only one possible topic for my MINIPOST today. My favourite daily genius, gunned down 32 years ago today. Here’s him at his most genius for my money.

As soon as you’re born they make you feel small
By giving you no time instead of it all
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

They hurt you at home and they hit you at school
They hate you if you’re clever and they despise a fool
Till you’re so fucking crazy you can’t follow their rules
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

When they’ve tortured and scared you for twenty odd years
Then they expect you to pick a career
When you can’t really function you’re so full of fear
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you’re so clever and classless and free
But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

There’s room at the top they are telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

If you want to be a hero, well, just follow me
If you want to be a hero, well, just follow me

I’m still following you, John.

Friday 7th December 2012

If you’ve never come across @oldandrewuk on twitter then you should. And if you’re remotely likely to call yourself, or be called, a ‘progressive’ educationalist then you really should, even though you’ll hate much of what he tweets.

It won’t be easy following Andrew. Many of his tweets are provocative. Some can seem rude. And if you bite at the bait he throws then he can be on you like a bad rash. And when he’s on you it can strain every intellectual resource you have. He can demolish a weak argument. He can demolish a strong argument. He can be relentless in a way you’ve never known relentless. He can marshal a coterie of the like-minded to make you feel like you are facing an army of traditionalists. He can recall every one of the legion of ‘logical fallacies’ and throw every argument back in your face with more venom than you threw it in his. And when he ‘wins’ he doesn’t just bury you’re argument: he digs it up like a latter-day Cromwell and strings it up for public humiliation.

And yet! And yet! And yet again!!! I can’t help it. I keep following him. I keep responding to him. I keep listening to him to avoid my timeline resonating with the empty noise of enthusiastic agreement. I have defended this position with many others who have unfollowed and blocked and only two others have been more vigorous defendants than me: @learningspy and @jamestheo.

But tonight I have found out that Andrew himself has blocked the latter of these two and I am stunned, and very disappointed. When you have an established, often contrary persona and an open account on twitter then to censor your timeline by blocking followers is an act that demeans you in every way possible.

And yet, in spite of that, I will continue to follow and will continue to urge others to follow the wonderfully challenging, eternally frustrating @oldandrewuk.

Thursday 6th December 2012

When I was a teenager there was one word I came to hate more than any other. It was a word that I took as an insult even as it was intended as a compliment. It was the worst four letter word that anyone had ever applied to me, and person after person did so.

NICE

The reason why I hated the word ‘nice’ was because it was often used by girls I fancied as a euphemism for ‘undateable’, ‘unkissable’ and ‘untouchable’. It was a word that, for me, was a measure of what I wasn’t rather than what I was. I wasn’t cool. I wasn’t desired. I wasn’t edgy. I wasn’t interesting. I wasn’t special. I wasn’t the best that I wanted to be.

Historically there is good reason to be wary of the word ‘nice’ as its etymology suggests (foolish, stupid, senseless, careless, clumsy, weak, poor, needy, simple, silly are the synonyms according to its original usage). Even in the 250 years since it has been used in a more positive light, there have been the doubters, with one writer saying that it is a “mere diffuser of vague and mild agreeableness” rather than a genuine compliment.

And yet the longer I live on this planet the more I appropriate this word with confidence and genuine fondness. Niceness is one of the human qualities I value most; in myself and in others. Being nice is selfless. It is everyday-beautiful and ordinarily-remarkable. It is unassuming. It is other-focused. It has the power of being simultaneously unassuming and fully knowing about what it does for others.

So, in the words of The Commitments, I’ll say it once and say it loud, I’m nice and I’m proud.

Wednesday 5th December 2012

Second day of SSAT conference today and I want to find the antidote to the spleen-juice that I served you in yesterday’s minipost. I don’t know if you noticed but I got a little bit cross at the Edugurus that not only seem to dot the landscape around schools, but who also now appear (from what I’ve seen this week) to be working together like the banks behind the LIBOR scandal or the big six energy companies. You may also have noticed my ire for the complicity of Eduleaders in this, particularly now that the money is drying up and we are being asked to do more with less.

So here’s the antidote and it’s devilishly simple and it’s happening right now and right here. It’s blogs and twitter and teachmeets and #ukedchats and #sltchats and, from today’s conference, rondevals to share developing practice and proffer invitations to peers to come and see and come and find out more (as I did on Monday with our neighbour school).

In our rondeval session today we (@renniesherrie and I) presented three times for 15 minutes to leaders from a number of different schools. The numbers weren’t as big as we’d expected but I suspect that every one of them took something away to tweak their practice and that some will go read our blogsite or follow our twitter account and that perhaps one or two will get in touch in order to come and see our work in practice.

Immediately after I went to see three rondevals myself, one on Rights Respecting Schools, one on BYOD and one on Co-Construction. I took a single thing from the last of these. From the first I’ve taken some future deep thinking that may one day come to something. From the BYOD one my head is buzzing and I am determined to see their school in action, taking others with me. I’ll be on the phone to them before Christmas.

It has surely got to be better lining our minds with each others’ successes than lining the pockets of Edugurus.

Tuesday 4th December 2012

Why is it that speakers at conferences think that the best way to entertain an audience is to talk monotonously for a very long period of time, pausing only to punctuate their pontificating with overpopulated powerpoints or pointlessly pirouetting prezis? Why is it that they think the height of audience interaction is to get us to nod sagely at their wisdom-filled words, or laugh mockingly at the latest media-driven figure of hate or mockery, or reflect knowingly on a cunningly located rhetorical question?

Most of all though, why do the “pedagogic heroes” (not my words), the long-since-ex-teachers, and the never-been-near-a-classroom-brigade feel the need to preach to us about our pedagogy (Constructing Learning Strength anyone?) without displaying an ability to put their pedagogic words into their pedagogic practice? Perhaps it’s because they know that they will talk and talk and talk and we will listen rapt, untrusting of our own instincts and so unquestioning of theirs. We will nod sagely at the right moments. We will chuckle at the relevant jibes and jokes. We will scribble notes about this fabulous new initiative. We will ‘take it back to base’. We will buy the book. We will buy the video. We will subscribe to the interactive website. We will implement, implement, implement. We will ‘roll it out’. We will ‘roll it down’. We will.

And then, in perhaps ten years time, we will return to a future conference having moved on from that innovation to countless others having never implemented any fully. We will have let the books grow dusty. We will allow the videos, DVDs, Blurays and MP4s to become superseded in every way possible. We will have let the interactive website go unused, if not unpaid for.

But then we will see the same guru again, still preaching but not practising their pedagogic heroism. Still inspiring from the stage and with a new book, a new video, a new interactive website. Book Volume 2. Video the Sequel. Website 2.0. A new take on an old brand of pedagogy.

And what will we do? Will we nod, chuckle, scribble, buy and implement? Or will we say “enough already”?

Monday 3rd December 2012

This morning I took part in a practitioner-led INSET day. Nothing strange in that, except that it was at the high school nearest the one in which I work: A rival school, if you will. The invitation came last week when myself and a senior leader from that school were at a meeting to finalise the parameters of a collaborative project in which teachers in our respective school, plus some from a local junior school, will work together to plan and deliver lessons and feedback to each other for an action research project.

Whilst I was there I met with the Deputy Head who was the last person to beat me on interview (deservedly so – I would have picked her) who I have worked with a number of times before, the Head (who was one of my greatest supporters in securing my current job) who I have hopefully helped in recent weeks, and a Media teacher (a great virtual colleague and friend in recent months) and who has helped fire my passion for pedagogy to new heights. But I also met a number of new people who simply accepted me as a colleague without any qualms, even though they were talking about their personal experiences and professional concerns in profound ways. They listened to this stranger respectfully an with kindness (maybe even a little interest) as I gatecrashed their gig.

I then returned to my own school to thrash out the details of our January INSET day with three of my own colleagues and, although I didn’t use any of my magpied ideas this time round (I prefer to let things I’ve seen sink in to my skull before I steal them) there’s no doubt that the experience of today was uppermost in my mind as we put together the structure of our next showstopper professional learning event. And it strikes me that this is maybe the start of a new way of working for us all in a post-boom, post-LA, post-Strategies educational landscape. Perhaps collaboration really is the best form of competition. Perhaps it is more important than ever to love our neighbour as a way of loving ourselves. It’s certainly worth a try.

Sunday 2nd December 2012

Not sure I have any right to call myself a daily genius at the minute. The reason for this rare lack of self-belief? Yet another rather abject surrender by my beloved Sunderland football club to ‘inferior’ opposition this afternoon, the third televised defeat in three weeks or so. There we are hovering above the relegation zone once more, drawing out all the dread fear and cynicism that real football fans know all too well.

I should know better. It always was and always will be the same. The very first match I ever went to see was Sunderland versus England (yes you read that right – the days when a club celebrating its centenary could get a match against the national team) and we lost that 2-0. Since then I’ve seen many relegations and precious few reasons to get excited. One of those rare occasions was against today’s opponents, Norwich, in 1985 in the Milk Cup at Wembley. We lost 1-0 to a horribly deflected shot, missed a penalty and went on to get relegated. That is a representative snapshot of the last 33 years of my life.

And yet supporting Sunderland is the most inspiring act of daily genius I can offer because in spite of all the heartache and disappointments I keep on bouncing back to them, assuming that this next match is where it all starts to go right and this next season is the one where we’ll break into Europe or win a trophy or both. It takes something a bit special to have such perfect optimism in the face of such overwhelming evidence to the contrary. As they say in footballing circles, especially in the North East, it’s the hope that I can’t stand.

Saturday 1st December 2012

I had a go at being a good Catholic once, in my very early 20s. Within a short space of time I started going to mass, took my first communion, made my first confession, went to my first pilgrimage and was confirmed as a full member of the church. It was part of me coming to terms with my brother’s death and also because of the fact that the priest, Father Simison, was an amazingly tender and caring man just when I needed exactly that.

One of the things I liked most about my time as a full Catholic was the concept of advent as a time of patient, profound and personal expectation; a concept much at odds with the fuss and bother made of Christmas on our televisions and in our shops. And even now, long after I ceased going to church (I couldn’t mask myself from its failings or mask it from mind for too long) I still cherish this first day of advent. I always stop to reflect peacefully about my world and to think about what I hope for over the coming weeks and, yes, I even give a little thought about that baby. Regardless of the religious significance of who he was there’s something quite special about a festival that celebrates the utter hope that accompanies a newborn child. I think that’s why I still love advent.

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