Preparing for the Holidays

School work seems to get harder as the holidays round the corner. I guess this is because all I can think about it turkey, ham, Christmas trees, and football. Therefore, as the weeks near Thanksgiving break, I feel like I am racing to the finish line. During this time and the holiday fever that can get to us all, it is important, however, to remember the purpose behind the holidays. Aside from the family time and great food that accompany them, it is important to remember and serve others during this special time of year.

As I am doing my teaching field experience in a second grade classroom this semester, it is a requirement that we implement a service learning unit with our students. This involves teaching students about service in connection with the traditional academic subjects through the implementation of a service project. Because so many of my children have indicated ways they like to directly help others, we decided to serve others through Operation Christmas Child. This program supported by Samaritan’s Purse assists children in need at Christmastime by proving shoeboxes full of toys and necessities to them during the holidays. Ranging from over sixty different countries, this program truly shows how one person can make a difference.

As I taught the students about the different countries, about sending money to help with shipping, and how to write letters to send in the boxes, I think they taught me just as much about compassion. These young second graders served as a great reminder of the simplicity of life and how a smile can brighten one’s day. These sweet children offered gifts from their own hearts, and often their own closets, as their way of contributing to the project. Often bringing in items that could not be sent, such as a VHS tape of Old Yeller, I assured them that I would find a place to donate their gifts. This students did not think twice about offering of themselves which is something that us adults could use a reminder of sometimes. As these children expressed their joy in serving because they could help others who are in need, I could not help but smile. Aside from explaining to a few why Santa couldn’t provide all of the things the children needed, this project proved to be a s
imple success with the students. I thank them for reminding ME how wonderful it can feel to serve others by giving of ourselves. Therefore, I challenge you this holiday season to find a way to help another, either through a special gift, or a simple smile.