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The Challenge to Celebrate

The Challenge to Celebrate

Celebrate. Every. Day.

Seemingly easy concept, right? Except for the in-laws, unexpectedly visiting from out of town and dinner isn’t quite thawed and homework is nowhere near complete! Who can fathom being merry in the midst of chaos (unless you’re celebrating going to the looney-bin)?

To celebrate is to take pause and thrive in the now, despite the past or future surroundings and dilemmas. We agree that the season of Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries or an approaching New Year are all worth the hassle, but every single day? It seems too much to ask and far too much to handle.

At the Mississippi Children’s Museum, I asked myselfthe same question as we prepare to unveil our new goal, challenge and theme that begins on December 1, 2016:

Celebrate Every Day for a full 365 days.

It sounds amazing and joyful, in-theory, yet as a non-profit and an educational institution, I had to think to analyze a few things for myself:

How can we be intentional with our mission if we focus solely on the enrichment and not the academic fundamentals? Are we really helping Mississippi’s children to learn and flourish with this goal to celebrate anything from non-matching socks to favorite foods?

At MCM, our mantra is to “take fun seriously,” but perhaps we should tread carefully on this new, fun-centric wave before jumping on another bandwagon. My nature, and I’m sure plenty of others, is always to err onthe side of caution.

On social media, there’s a myriad of challenges and prompts that encourage consumers to tell “a color story,” take a 30 day charge, or focus on a sequence to harness their artistic side. But what is the purpose in pausing to make something small, or what might seem frivolous and irrelevant in the grand scheme of things?

It took me a while to realize, and I can only imagine how I will actually apply this, but the answer is simple:

“Count it all joy” or if you prefer a less Apostolic vibe, “fun for FUN sake!”

As you work in a children’s museum, you witness many “firsts.” First museum visits. First holidays. First trip to Jackson! First time playing with other children outside of normal surroundings. And the most elusive from tiny humans, a first spoken word.

Many moments, for a young child, are filled with wonder and enchantment. The world is sparkly and brand new, untainted. In celebrating a small chunk of every day, we must put on these “goggles of newness” to change our perspective into something positive, no matter what may be going wrong or how mundane the task is at hand. Fun for fun sake gives fuel to the ebb and flows of life!

MCM’s mission is to provide unparalleled experiences that ignite a thirst for discovery, knowledge and learning in all children. We accomplish this through silly stories, hands-on programs, and most importantly, through fun! I would even be remiss to say that grown-ups and guardians have their fair share of “aha moments” as they explore the museum as well.

Learning opportunities emerge from commemorating traditions, or while reading a book, in picking vegetables, in getting dressed in the morning and in conducting science experiments!

It will indeed be a challenge to find a cause to rejoice every day for a full year, but if it means that a child gets to experience a balloon sticking to his head for Static Electricity Day, then I am here for it. If it means a child will learn to plant cocoa beans like a botanist for National Chocolate Mint Day, then I am ready to turn my thumbs green. You can even count me in for National Observance of Jell-O Week or Compliment Day!

Reader friend, I hope you’ll join us at MCM throughout the year as we spend days wearing stripes and funny hats, tinkering with technology, having tea-parties and flipping flap-jacks. There is so much joy to go around, even in the small things. At MCM, we not only celebrate learning, but the laughter as we make it happen. I hope you’ll celebrate with us throughout the next year, every day.

 

Chellese Hall is not a parent, but she’s a Jackson-based, seasoned millennial care-giver who takes fun seriously at MCM and is never ashamed to act like a child.

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