“ALL” I Really Want for Christmas?

Audie Two Front TeethBy Bill Henk – Go on, take a guess.  I dare you.

Nope, it’s not my daughter’s two front teeth.  Good try, though.  Let me give you some hints.  My wish centers on being an educator, and yes, it does have something to do with the aptly named Audrey NOEL Henk.

Are you feeling it yet?

One one hand it’s simple.  I can capture the sentiment in one sentence.  On the other hand, it’s enormously complex, so much so that, sadly, it borders on the impossible.  But I want it desperately just the same.  It’s pretty much what every professional called to teaching and who loves children would ultimately desire.

Still not sure?  Or then again, maybe you think you have it.  I’ll spare you the suspense either way.

I want every child to possess the same advantages for learning that my daughter enjoys.”

Crazy, huh?  OK, I’ll scale back some.  How about if the playing field of privilege was “merely” leveled for every kid in and around Milwaukee with my kid?  What would that mean?

  • Every school child in our area would have a loving family that cares deeply about their offspring’s education, lets the child know, and encourages, guides, and cultivates their intellectual, emotional, and social development.
  • The child would reside in a comfortable, safe home with all the amenities necessary to live in a healthy, happy way, because the family has ample economic means.
  • The home would contain a range of materials like toys, books, games, media, and technologies that inspire and promote learning.
  • The family would engage in plenty of activities outside the home like bookstore and museum visits and social and cultural events that create an additional foundation for conceptual growth.
  • High quality child care and tutoring would be affordable if necessary, as well as the costs of extracurricular learning opportunities like participation in the creative arts and sports.
  • The child’s schooling would qualify as exemplary at every grade level.  High quality, dedicated teachers would serve the child year after year, and formal support systems  would exist for scaffolding learning when children falter.
  • The child would profit from immersion in a school culture that nurtures character development and the acquisition of positive values just as faith-based settings tend to do.
  • School and guidance counselors as well as school psychologists, nurses, and social workers would be readily available to assist the child and the family.
  • Taken a step further, a community school model would be in place so that families could avail themselves of a range of special human services in an efficient, integrated, coordinated, and most of all, effectual way.
  • And last but not least, opportunities to participate regularly in art, music, library, physical education, and other areas of keen interest would abound in the school.

No doubt I’ve forgotten some important dimensions of putting other deserving children on an even par for learning with my daughter.  But the list is pretty audacious as it is, and I probably shouldn’t push it.  Then again, the answer is always ‘no’ if you don’t ask.

So, I’ll put the request out there for Santa’s consideration.  After all, I said achieving this scenario bordered on the impossible, leaving the door open to at least a glimmer of hope.

And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about Christmas wishes being granted, you absolutely must do one thing:  BELIEVE.


2 Responses to ““ALL” I Really Want for Christmas?”

  1. 1 Mike Soika December 14, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    I Believe, Bill. Thanks for your hope & inspiration.


    • 2 billhenk December 14, 2012 at 6:01 pm

      Thanks for your kind words, Mike. I’m not kidding when I tell you that as I wrote my wish list above, I kept thinking that leveling the playing field in these important ways is exactly what Milwaukee Succeeds aspires to do. I believe in our unique community partnership, and I believe in its leadership, of which you are a key part.


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