“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” Each time I hear that Christmas song, I wonder, “Is it really?” Nearly half of Americans sometimes or always feel alone.
For some of us, the holiday season is a bittersweet mix of joy and grief. Maybe life didn’t go the way we expected because of disappointment, death, or divorce. I walked through a heart-wrenching divorce, and the effects of that split are felt by me and my kids every holiday. They share their time between me and their dad. For days, my home is filled with their raucous laughter, and then it all becomes quiet…too quiet.
In the silence, I am faced with memories and questions, tears and gratitude. I have learned to relish the stillness…to let the empty moments be filled with mindfulness and peace. The heartbreak I have experienced has been a crucible, shaping me into the woman I am today. I know first-hand the truth that all things to work together for good…for me and my kids. We’ve grown through the experiences of the past thirteen years in ways that I never thought possible before.
Whatever your pain, I challenge you to own it. Name the hurt and sadness…let yourself feel it. Give yourself and your loved ones space to process. That’s the first step toward healing.
For those who are hurting today, I see you…I know…and I understand. May we find the grace to feel the ache, the courage to run into the arms of love, the wisdom to rest, and the hope for restoration.
For my friends whose lives are seemingly intact, please do not pity or judge. Remember each one of us is on our own journey.
For all of us, let us be kind to one another and give thanks for life’s gifts.
For many students and educators, the stretch between Thanksgiving and Winter Break can seem endless. Between semester exams and holiday celebrations, everyone in the school community can feel out of sorts. Here are a few quick tips for maintaining peace and joy during the season:
- Maintain your regular schedule. – Students thrive within established boundaries. Remind them of your high expectations for learning and working.
- Integrate the holidays with academics. – Read holiday stories from various countries in English Language Arts. Research the history of traditions from various cultures and connect them to current traditions in Social Studies. Study the Science of baking favorite holiday treats. Celebrate the season with the Arts and Service Learning by sharing cards, hand-made crafts, and songs with elderly neighbors at a local senior center.
- Prepare for students’ needs. – For some children, the holidays are not a happy time. The food insecurity they face can make time away from school scary. Provide food boxes and gifts or make connections with local food shelters or faith-based organizations that can help meet the needs of children and their families.
Don’t be a Grinch this holiday season! Instead, find ways to maximize the fun opportunities for learning that come at this special time of year.
What I ate for breakfast today: Trader Joe’s Green Juice & Justin’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups