This past Friday, as a special December treat, students in grades 1st-8th had an opportunity to dip candles. We hope that you will see these candles appear under your Christmas tree as a gift from your child.
However, providing our students with a gift is not our primary reason for having them dip candles. So it raises the question, why do we go to such lengths to do this? It is pricy, time-consuming and requires a lot of set up and clean up.
The answer, as with so many of the things we expose our students to, is on multiple levels. First of all, it is a practice that was once common in every household, and has now fallen totally out of common practice. However, it is not as far away as we may imagine. We have a staff member who still recalls helping to dip candles that were then used in church—and they had to be perfect! Dipping candles teaches the children patience (how many times do we have to go around?), caution (molten wax is hot!), courage (more than a few of the young ones had to overcome their fear of getting burnt), cooperation (keep moving!), following directions (no double-dipping!), and aesthetics (how do I get my candle to be flat on the bottom?). I’m sure a conversation with your children would reveal a few other lessons as well.
Then there is the sensory joy the children experience. Every class that entered the room cooed with joy: “It smells so good in here!” Many children enjoyed pressing the warm candles against their cheeks, as well as peeling the fragments of dripped wax from their fingers.
As a final thought, I offer the most compelling reason why to dip candles in December and not in a later or earlier month. We are in the season of the darkest days. Do not many of us go to work before it is fully light and return home when the brief light of the day is fading? Here is a gesture to bring more light into this dark time of year. The glow of a beeswax candle is particularly golden and special. Those with sharp senses will detect the scent of honey in the air when a beeswax candle is burnt. Enjoy these small gifts, light your candles and let them open the door to bring more light and joy into your family.