Enjoying the Silence of the Holiday Season

12/26/06


By Kenneth Ender, Ph.D.

Since 1968, my life and calendar have been calibrated with the calendar of a college or university. Over the years, my energy, intellect and affect has been in tune with the academic calendar. This part of the calendar, the holiday season, is the one that means the most to me.

College campuses are never, ever completely quiet and still - except for the holiday season of Christmas and the New Year. On a residential campus, this is easily explained - students go home. But the same quiet comes to all campuses – residential, commuter or community college - it makes no difference.

The quietness often surprises me. I know it’s coming, and I look forward to it. But when the silence actually arrives, I’m still usually caught off guard. What is this quiet? Mostly, it’s the lull of energy following a tremendous wave of activity throughout Cumberland County College’s campus. The energy of the intellect is profound. The noise of busy scholars thinking, solving problems and analyzing conundrums is loud. And then, when the semester ends and the holidays arrive, the bustling commotion disappears. Suddenly, without warning, it’s gone. And the silence is palpable.

So this is the season I enjoy the most. While walking across the campus, the silence is deafening. It warms and comforts me because I know it so well. It is the seasonal sound of an academy at rest. And I know what is to come. The happiness of the holidays, the warm feelings of family and friends, and the comfort of feeling at home.

Yes, I enjoy this season. And I hope you do, too.

Holiday spirit Two weeks ago, the fifth annual Celebration of Lights was held at CCC. A team of college employees teamed up with colleagues at the Broad Street School, the Dr. George Cunningham School, Petway School and the R.D. Wood School to assure that the last week of the year would have pleasant memories for a group of needy kids.

The children sang carols, learned about the holidays and enjoyed the special treats. And thanks to the generosity of CCC students, faculty and staff, all of the children received gifts from Santa. The children’s eyes said it all. To these students, many who are homeless or in shelters, the gifts meant warmth, esteem, respect and joy. Each child was special. Every child was loved. It was truly hard to leave the event without a tear to brush away.

The children reminded me of myself some 45 years ago. Yes, this is a magic time of year. A time of love, close feelings and the hope for the future.

Best withes for a safe, happy holiday and a rewarding, productive new year!