As the early morning hour approaches, I sit in my home with my trusty four-legged companion waiting for the chaos to commence. It won’t be long until the children awake with eyes of innocence and belief that “Ho-Ho” has visited us. The cookies and glass of milk will be no more and the tree’s lights won’t shine won’t compare to the twinkle in my children’s eyes.
The description above may resonate or summarize the early morning for many people with children. Smiles are plentiful all day long, but I sit in reflection and wonder about others, my students specifically.
Speaking with students and colleagues, I know not every home will have the same, positive description as mine. Instead, some will stay in bed wanting to forget Christmas has come and hope for its quick departure. Children in single-parent homes will wonder whether they will see both parents today and whether the tree will dawn gifts of joy; I know this harsh reality because it’s a vibrant memory of my own middle school days after my parents separated. Young children in foster care will ask Santa for their parents to come for them and only end the day in despair. I recently read the opioid epidemic is doubling the amount of children in foster care in some areas, wow.
I cannot fulfill the gap of a missing parent for every single child feeling hurt this Christmas season, but I can offer encouragement or support to each child I teach during the challenging holiday.
Meet the Need
I am trying something different this year for my students. As Rick Wormeli indicated, it is not necessary to treat every student exactly the same as many of them have different needs. However, it’s imperative to do what is necessary to elevate that student to meet success. Here are a few ways I am impacting students this Christmas break:
- write a positive note and mail it home over holiday
- buy a Christmas gift (i.e., books are my go to)
- home visit
- be visual in the community
- attend high school athletic contest
Will you be the one who reaches out to offer encouragement to your children over the long Christmas break?