Holiday Lessons By Latasha Schraeder

Lately, I’ve been reflecting on growing both as an educator and a parent. I began to ask myself “What if I used December as a lesson of reflection and gratitude?” How can we, as parents and educators, transform December into a classroom filled with valuable life lessons? Is it possible to teach our children to be selfless even as they are recipients of the gifts found on their holiday wish lists? Yes, I believe this is an attainable goal!

Each year, our children anticipate opening their gifts on Christmas morning. I do, too! As a parent, I want to raise children who are selfless, appreciative and aware of their privilege. This year, we plan to be of service. Service can come in many different forms: serving meals, making visits, or donating items no longer serving their purpose for your family.

I’ve also been thinking about how I, as a parent and educator, can open children’s eyes to how fortunate we are. Plan a visit to the local children’s hospital. As a family, make a donation to Coats for Kids or ring bells for the Salvation Army. The Southside Mission prepares several hundred meals for the less fortunate every Christmas. Volunteer!

Rather than centering your holiday around gift giving, focus on time spent with family. These days we tend to fill every free second with technology and extracurricular activities. The gift of unhurried quality time with loved ones doesn’t present itself often. Make the most of winter break. Create lifelong memories. Moments with the elders and members of the family we don’t see often enough are priceless. Gift your children with time spent with family. You won’t regret it. Unwind. Reflect during the conclusion of yet another year. I wish you and your family the happiest of holidays!

Be your child’s fiercest advocate.