Monday, December 18, 2017

Thoughts About the Holidays

I hope everyone had a great weekend. My wife and I spent Saturday and Sunday watching Syracuse University basketball and the Buffalo Bills both win. We also took the downtown holiday tour where we enjoyed reindeer, ice sculptures, gingerbread houses, and fantastically decorated windows. Very enjoyable for sure!

As we enter the last week before break, I wanted to take a few moments to give my thoughts about the holidays. Because I interact with thousands of people each day, I get a birds-eye view of life at its best and worst. The holidays really magnify events, feelings, and emotions, especially for children, and it is really important for all of us to recognize that.

It is not rare for children to act differently both at school and at home leading up to the holidays. Some of the reasons can be that routines are about to change, stress about the holidays at home, and student stress about not wanting to be at home for an extended period of time. These are all completely natural occurrences; but should not be overlooked.

At the extreme, the holidays can really magnify mental illness, so it is important to recognize that as well. If family members are struggling, try to get them to help. If we see it at school with the students, we will do the same.

It is also important to consider perspective. I spent a couple of hours last week at Golisano Children's Hospital visiting three of our sick students. Two are in kindergarten and one is in the high school. As I visited, each were fighting for their lives, let alone wondering what they were going to open on Christmas morning. My tiniest student has been in the same room for a long time, and his "gift" may be to see the outside of those four walls in the next 12 days. Surprisingly, they were all in decent spirits. Something for us to reflect on.

I do want to thank our employees and students for their continued generosity. During the school year they collectively buy clothes, provide resources, and visit people who are sick and/or in financial need. Their efforts increase around the holidays. I do not want to miss any effort, so I am not going to list all of the causes that they have been participating in over the past month, but their collective efforts are in the $10,000 range and will help many local families and people.

Our famous high school holiday concert takes place this Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium. It is fun to watch the students perform while the "snow" falls. The "big guy" also usually makes an appearance. Good stuff!

I am not going to post the next two weeks. My family celebrates Christmas, so Merry Christmas to you and your families.

Thank you for your continued support, and I will write again in the new year!