I have been asked to contribute a weekly column to our local newspaper, The Nebraska City NewsPress, my goal is that people are reminded that they are loved, they are not alone, and that we can do positive things together as a community. Here is this week’s column, it’s called “Snow Days”. When I was growing up I lived in Georgia during elementary school and Texas in middle school and high school. There were only a handful of snow days and every one was like a present, wrapped in a birthday cake, they were amazing. I would go out in a ton of layers and play in the snow. We would sled, run, make snow angels, make snowmen, it was AWESOME!! We’d go inside, strip down to our long johns and watch movies or play video games while the mom of the house would put our snow clothes in the dryer and make us hot chocolate. As soon as our clothes were dry we’d be back out in it. Snow days as a kid, were amazing.
Snow days as a parent, aren’t that amazing.
I’m blessed to have a job that is pretty flexible. I can do a lot of my work and preparation from my home. Of course, it takes twice as long with my two lovely, energetic children running around. I know I’m one of the lucky ones, most parents have a lot more to juggle. When schools close, so do daycare centers. That means, not only do you have to figure out a way to get to work safely, but you also have to find emergency daycare while everyone else is trying to do the same thing. If they are lucky they can take their kids in with them to their job, but those jobs are few and far between. If you’re an hourly worker that means a day without pay which may mean the difference between groceries or heat.
I’m not sure there’s a solution, and I do cherish the times I get to play in the snow with my kids, making snow men, having snowball fights, and feeling the rush of riding our sled but I know that there’s a pile of work for me if I don’t take some time to work from home and there’s a ton of people out there who are trying to figure out how to take care of their kids AND pay their bills.
I know that means that there are some older kids watching younger kids, there are people who are putting themselves in danger to get to work, and there are those that are just stuck (physically and mentally), because both parents have jobs that are inflexible. One of the things that I find is helpful in those times is to give and receive grace.
If you are like me and are a supervisor of employees, give a little grace in regards to deadlines and hours, if you have flexible hours, use them and see if there is a way you can help your neighbor who doesn’t. If you don’t have any flexibility and if you don’t have any help, reach out to others and give yourself some grace knowing you can’t do it all. If we as a community decide that the health and safety of our children and families is a high priority then we will continue to show grace to each other as we deal with the challenges and opportunities that life brings. It also means that in order to help those whose job it is to clear the roads and protect our streets it is helpful for us to only be out when we absolutely have to. Giving them some grace will go a long way.
First United Methodist Church hear in Nebraska City has got the right idea, for the next 40 days (February 1-March 15) they are participating in the “Do Something Challenge” and the “40 Days of Kindness”. Their goal is to impact 12,000 people in the next 40 days. If we join them in showing kindness, doing something, and showing grace we might be able to make it through these snow days with less anxiety and more excitement, like we were kids again. If you’d like to know more about the “Do Something Challenge” or “40 Days of Kindness” you can go to FUMC Do Something Now’s facebook page or twitter account (@FUMCdosomething).
At dinner every night, my family goes around the table and shares their high points and low points of the day. We call it “Favorite” and “Not Favorite”. Here are my “Favorites” and “Not Favorites” of the week.
Favorite: Watching my kids have as much fun as I did during snow days.
Not Favorite: Trying to get work done when I’d rather be playing in the snow.