Dear Student, I know there is not much I can say or do to make this holiday better for you. I know that I cannot possibly give you or your family everything you need to make your Christmas like some of the other kids’ at school. I wish I could. So, if you will bear with me, I’m going to give what I have and that is some old man wisdom.
I know my old man wisdom isn’t a replacement for what you need or for some of things you could desire, but I do promise that this old man wisdom is comforting. It will be especially comforting in a few years when you’re an old man or an old woman. Ha!
Please keep these things in mind as you approach what could be a difficult holiday:
1. You are not alone. Yes, you have a situation that is uniquely yours, but I promise that somewhere in the United States, the same county and maybe in the world, someone else is going through something similar. Heck, one of the old men or old women you look at everyday has probably gone through the same thing or worse. One day, you will realize that you were not alone.
2. Remember that it is the spirit of the holiday season that counts most if your family is short on cash or if you’ve experienced a profound loss. It’s the spirit that is more important than the stuff under a tree or festivities or even a location. You can take the spirit anywhere and the spirit is bigger than everything else, including a lack of money or a bad attitude or the loss of a loved one. The spirit of the season is one that should last all year to be honest, so remember that when something is just not right.
3. One day you will look back and think about the worst part of the season and laugh. You will even be glad though sadness or disappointment was a part of the memory. Want to know why you will laugh and possibly be glad? Well, because you will realize #1 and #2 and also realize that you are the person you are because of it, which leads me to #4.
4. A difficult holiday season cannot make you or break you. Well, it can if you let it, but I don’t think you will let it. Do not let it make you or break you. Let it be what it is and hope – no believe – for better days. They do come. Trust me, I know that they do come.
5. Do not let other people’s responses to the holidays affect you. Someone is always going to brag or boast about how wonderful the holiday was for them. Be gracious and be happy for them. Someone is going to want to show their new toy, car, clothes, whatever, and that’s cool too. Be gracious and thank them for wanting to share. At the end of the day, Christmas is but one day out of 365. One day and it goes by fast.
This last bit of old man wisdom is the most important. If for some reason, you’re going through such a tough time that you feel you cannot cope, please tell someone. Tell a trusted friend, teacher, principal, your pastor or neighbor. Tell someone you trust that this is a hard time for you. Do not go through it alone or believing that the pain is more than you can bear.
I’m so sorry that we (old people) have made the holidays out to be more than it should be. We’ve forgotten that it is supposed to be about something bigger and better than the gifts.
Blessings and I am praying for you. ~ Dr. Grady