Updated: Nov 24, 2021
Last week it was a little more chaotic and much noisier around the center than it typically is. Why? Because this week there is no school, so the children were all excited about the upcoming vacation. This of course presented some disciplinary issues which had to be dealt with. However, it was also a good reminder of what to be grateful for.
Many of us are accustomed to traveling to see family when we have Thanksgiving (or Christmas, or Easter) vacation. However, for the families in our community, that is not what happens. Often the adults (and teens who have jobs) do not get extra time off for holidays, and even if they did, there is not enough money to travel with the whole family.
Families do still gather with any extended family who live close by to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast. For some the table is full of US foods like turkey and stuffing, but for many it is more traditional Mexican foods like pasole.
No matter what a family eats on Thanksgiving day, one thing remains true, the children enjoy the time home with their families, seeing their cousins, and having time when they don't need to worry about school.
This has been a stressful school year for everyone, even more than usual. So this vacation students are especially anxious and looking for attention from the adults in their lives who are positive role models and who reinforce that they are loved and valued, no matter what. For many, that affirmation comes from their family. For some, it comes from our staff and volunteers at the Open Arms Community or from a pastor or teacher or other trusted adult mentor. All children deserve to feel safe in their neighborhoods, safe enough to go outside and play with their neighbors and friends, to explore and have fun.
The world is a stressful, sad, angry place much of the time. This Thanksgiving, let's let the children focus on simply being children and enjoying their childhood as much as possible.