This Break, Do Your Part to Bring Happiness to Others

With December Break beginning later today, I know that all of our students, faculty, and families are excited about having some downtime. Most will celebrate holidays. Some will stay in Colorado. Others will travel to be with family and friends. Over time, school calendars have developed some great traditions that are aimed at rejuvenation and human connection. The big three would be breaks at Thanksgiving, in December, and Spring Break. I want to give a huge shout-out to our faculty and staff for their ongoing efforts to support our students. I have been visiting a number of classes of teachers who are going through Colorado Academy’s professional advancement process and have been impressed by their professionalism. Students also are capturing my attention—they are amazing as they raise questions or share what they have learned. Every day, I feel incredibly fortunate to serve this school.

As we head into the holidays, I want to revisit one of the lessons of the World Cup. Through soccer, we have learned about players, their home nations, and the realities they face off the field. Some of their home countries are enduring horrible events. I want to encourage us not to lose sight of that, despite the enthusiasm surrounding the championship and the holidays. Still, the World Cup highlights the fact that we are all connected as human beings. While many have festive experiences this time of year, it is important to remember that other parts of the world are not on our same holiday calendar. Consider the suffering and courage of the Ukrainian people as they face a harsh winter. We can think of the people of Iran—who continue to resist an authoritarian regime that has now resorted to public hangings of idealistic young people. And, more than 1,000 migrants from Nicaragua have surged across the U.S. border seeking freedom with only the belongings they can carry.

I call out these three examples not to make a political statement, but to ask that especially at this time of year, we think about people who are struggling and consider a random act of kindness as your way of adding good to the world. I grew up Presbyterian and an essential message of the Christian faith is to treat others as you wish to be treated. This message is universal in major world religions. 

Some may go to a fast food restaurant and purchase food for a person experiencing homelessness whom they may pass on their way home. Or, stop in a store and anonymously pay for something on layaway. Or pay for the food order of the car in line behind them.  I’m particularly proud of my daughters—one is working as a nurse, and the other is in grad school. On their own, they took part in the Together 4 Colorado toy drive. This is a partnership project of King Soopers, CBS4, and 97.3 KBCO. Together they collect toys to be distributed by the Boys and Girls Clubs. One of my girls, who is a nurse, bought a doctor dress-up kit. She was hoping to inspire a future medical student. My other daughter bought nail polish and just wants to give some joy to younger kids. We can’t solve all the world’s problems, but we can take little steps to give happiness to those around us.

 I hope you all have a wonderful December vacation. I look forward to seeing you in the new year!