Pause and Effect
At one school, students wrap their heads around the calming practice of mindfulness
From the Holiday 2018 issue
Once a week, throughout the fall semester at The Jefferson School in Georgetown, there is a sense that Darth Vader is in the house. But those heavy, rhythmic exhales are not the sounds of evil domination. Quite the contrary. It’s the sound of students — from kindergarten through eighth grade — learning to focus on their breathing in order to combat the forces of stress, anxiety and conflict.
Back for its third consecutive year at the school, the Minds Over Matter Initiative is designed to help students achieve and maintain focus, inner calm, resilience and self-awareness. All of the school’s 100 students (except for those in prekindergarten) participate in the eight-week program, which runs from mid-September through early November.
By definition, mindfulness promotes concentration, focus and being grounded in the present moment in an accepting, non-judgmental manner. The goal of this educational tool is to decrease tension and stress, enhance conflict resolution skills, and help give kids a sense of empowerment.
Good Deeds and Just Rewards
Rehoboth-area volunteer — and Santa surrogate — Dennis Diehl is eager to show others that acts of kindness beget more of the same
Dennis Diehl considers himself “the luckiest person in the world.” Even when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer this summer, that feeling didn’t change.
“When they told me that I had cancer, I knew right away that it was a temporary thing, that I would get better,” he says. “I haven’t ever considered the alternative.”
That confidence is rooted partly in his Christian faith: “My first thought after my diagnosis was ‘He’s not done with me yet.’”
But it also comes from Diehl’s belief that he has a purpose in life and that, after more than 30 years focused on earning a living, he is finally doing meaningful work. “I knew that it wasn’t time for me to leave this Earth,” he says.
War and Remembrance
The years slip away and events recede into the past, but the experiences of local World War II veterans remain etched in their memories
From the Holiday 2018 issue
Next year will mark the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II. All but a handful of countries participated in that conflict and historians estimate that more than 60 million people died as a result of the war. Included in that death toll were 40 million to 50 million civilians, killed by bombings, disease and starvation, and war crimes, including the Holocaust’s systematic extermination of Jews and others.
The United States joined the war in December 1941, after the Japanese attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor. By the end of the conflict nearly four years later, nearly 406,000 U.S. soldiers, Marines, sailors and Coast Guardsmen had been killed and more than 672,000 wounded.