About Me:

Aloha! I'm Wendy Kennar. I'm the mother of a seven-year-old son and a wife living in Los Angeles. I was a public school teacher for twelve years until a chronic medical condition made it necessary to leave my teaching career.

I've always been described as "quiet" - really, I'm just biting my tongue. I've got lots to say, and lots of thoughts to share, I just prefer to write them. That's the purpose of this blog. Each Wednesday, I post a personal essay offering my observations and thoughts.

A few fun facts about me: I've wanted to be a writer since second grade, when my teacher, Mrs. Jones, made me a "book" with a yellow construction paper cover. I have never learned to whistle, have always preferred sunflowers to roses, and have spent my life living within the same zip code.

Through the years, my writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, United Teacher, GreenPrints, L.A. Parent, DivineCaroline.com, RoleReboot.org, XOJane, and Brain, Child Magazine. Additionally, my personal essays have been included in several anthologies, including: The Barefoot Review, Beyond the Diaper Bag, Lessons From My Parents, Write for Light, Being a Grown-Up: A User's Manual for the Real World, Ka-Pow!, How Writing Can Get You Through Tough Times, Breath and Shadow, The Grey Wolfe Storybook, and Sisters Born, Sisters Found.
I am a regular contributor at MomsLA.com, and you can also find me at Goodreads.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Feel free to comment and share my blog with others!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Christmas with a Bang

   Sunday evening was the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Grove in Los Angeles.  Aside from the fact that I firmly believe Christmas decorations shouldn’t make an appearance until after Thanksgiving, the Grove also celebrated the occasion with an elaborate fireworks display.  A display I could see from my bedroom window and could feel as every window in my house vibrated.  And I wondered - what do fireworks have to do with Christmas?

   And then my mind, working overtime as it often does, wondered about the money that was spent to produce that fireworks display.  And I thought of my students who would be coming to school the next morning - some with holes in their shoes, some qualifying for free lunches.  And it made me sad.  Sad that Christmas is being celebrated in this over-the-top, extravagant, premature way.  Sad that in the “land of the free and home of the brave” things are still so unequal.  Kobe Bryant will always make more money throwing a ball in a hoop than I ever will teaching children.  (Let’s just remember he wouldn’t be a Laker without first getting an education from his teachers).  Miles away from this retail center that has been compared to Disneyland, children sleep in homeless shelters, and children go to bed hungry.  

   Don’t get me wrong; I’m no selfless saint.  I indulge in my occasional over-priced, speciality coffee drinks.  I splurge and purchase a certain face-wash.  But, I also donate.  My heart and soul to my students (for my efforts are never properly monetarily compensated).  And I donate small amounts of money to several different organizations.

   Christmas is a time of good-will.  So, I’ll look at the “glass-is-half-full” view of this situation.  The fireworks were presented to celebrate the time of the year we acknowledge those in our lives with tokens of appreciation.  We acknowledge miracles and joy, happiness and possibility.  And maybe in the midst of merriment, we’ll all remember to spread the joy in any way we can.


  1. Honey,
    I love reading your perspective on this event. It is very true that our society gets caught up in all the extravaganza of holidays and tend to forget that there are people missing the basic needs to live a normal life. You are a wonderful soul and human being. Reading this story reminds me again of why I love you so much.

  2. I have to agree that I don't understand why the Fire Works were going and I don't live as close to the Grove as you,but I certainly heard all that was going on in my house.Each year the stores start bringing out all the Christmas things earlier and earlier and I feel they should at least wait till Thanksgiving time.This year I was hearing Christmas music the day after Halloween(and I think that is way to early).I also feel people spend way too much money especially when there are so many in need of the basic things in life.It always seems to me people want to impress others and I really don't feel that is what the sense of giving is for.I love reading your work and I feel you really have a way with words.I love you very much and I am very proud of you.

  3. Christmas in this day and age is just a retail opportunity. The spirit of Christmas should exist everyday all year long. I am thankful for my family. I would help the unfortunates more than I do but there are abuses every where. I was asked for money, I refused but did offer to buy a meal, the person said no thanks, just give me the money. As always your BLOG is thougth provoking. Your Mother and I are proud of you.

    Love, Dad

  4. Hi!

    I was doing a search, and somehow found your blog. It's a very interesting read. I too belive that christmas has gone way over the top! It's become a different holiday; then one of tradition, that's for sure.

    My one issue though is that of which you spoke of Kobe. I am one who is very much one a Laker fan, woo hoo!! and two very involved with his organization; which you may not be aware even exisists. It's so funny, as he's doing exactly what you're speaking about, but were in a way bashing him for him making the amount of money that he does. Here's a little look at what his foundation does: The Foundation will partner with existing homeless organizations like My Friend’s Place in efforts to end homelessness by increasing awareness, improving services and raising funds." Here too is a link to further information: http://tattletailzz.com/2011/06/kobe-bryant-gives-back/, or you can google it. Happy Holidays!

  5. Great article as always, Wendy! I also heard and felt the gun shot-like ruckus that went on on Sunday night. My mom and I looked at each other, trying to figure out what what going on. I won't even begin to express my own frustrations on how no event or holiday seems to be "stand alone" anymore. Halloween should be given its due separate from Thanksgiving and also separate from Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa, etc. Each is important in its own right. It's a season for giving, reflection, and appreciation of who is in our lives. When possible to "contribute" it is nice to do what one can. Always a pleasure reading your observations! Keep up the amazing work!