It is amazing how quickly we pass through the final two months of the year. We almost bypass Thanksgiving altogether so we can jump right into the Christmas shopping season. Have you noticed how quickly Christmas decorations and displays go up in retail stores? It seems the main focus is on the Black Friday Blitz and not taking the time to acknowledge what we are thankful for.
As a primary teacher, it is important to discuss the meaning of Thanksgiving and why the holiday is celebrated. It is also the time as I am sure with any elementary classroom that students write about what they are thankful for. It is very interesting how a few will immediately jump to toys and video games while family, food and shelter take a back seat. In these instances it's always important to prioritize the things we are thankful for.
I can think of so many things I am thankful for but two things easily jump to the front of the pack — family and career. I don't know about you but I am a firm believer of things happening for a reason. Six years ago my wife and I moved to Marion, Ohio. If you do not know anything about this area I will give you a quick education: There is a lot of farm land, a prison and not a whole lot else. If you want to do anything fun you have to travel 40 minutes to either Mansfield or Columbus. My wife's career took us there, which turned out to be one of the best decisions of our almost 15 years together.
She got amazing experience with her career while I got to finish up my bachelor's and master's degrees in education. Even though we did not enjoy living in Marion, we were meant to be there. I went to a great college for education that gave me tremendous preparation to be a teacher. The job search was very disappointing, though. Every district in the area was cutting positions due to levies not passing and budget cuts. The district we lived in was rumored to be cutting 50 positions for the coming school year.
When we relocated back to Northeast Ohio, we knew things were meant to be. I was nervous when I began subbing for North Canton City Schools. I was a brand new face with two months left in the school year, so I figured I would not do a lot of subbing. The great thing about our district is your name gets spread around quickly if you the staff is confident in your abilities. My first day subbing was at the Mary L. Evans Early Childhood Center. I was there for a half a day and I was asked to come back. I subbed three days there and I was being recommended for a long-term substitute position. After two weeks in the district I met with the principal and teacher at Orchard Hill Elementary School and I was offered the position. I completed the final 17 days of the school year and during the summer I applied for a second-grade teaching position. Rumor has it a few hundred people applied for the position that I now have. Going from an unheard of substitute to having a full-time teaching position in less than three months. So as you can see, I am a firm believer of things being meant to be.
During our time in Marion, my wife and I decided to start a family, which made our lives complete. My daughter, Madison, was born on the first day of the second quarter of my master's program. I was juggling a newborn, master's coursework, education field placements and a part time job. I remember so many times thinking I do not want to miss anything and all she was doing was eating, sleeping, crying and messing diapers. Madison will soon be 3 and this is the time I do not want to miss out on. She is amazing. If you have a child then you know what I mean. She is a girl so she of course she talks all the time. I mean ALL the time. I sometimes joke with my wife about her having a mute switch. But then I think about what it would be like to not have her voice fill our house. Singing I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas over and over. Hearing her laugh, which is my favorite sound in the world. I think about all of the people who are not able to have children or have lost in their life. It is amazing how a small joke can bring such thoughts and reflections.
So this holiday season please reflect on the things that matter the most. Take an extra second to show a loved one that you care. Give your children an extra hug and kiss. Don't let life pass you up and you forget about who or what is most important. Don't spend so much time planning for next year. We still have plenty of year left even if it means enjoying the Hippopotamus song for the 10th time in a row. It's a good thing I like this song or I might start looking for the mute button. Happy Holidays.