Thankful, Grateful, Blessed: It is A LOT!

The holidays this time of year have many different meanings for each person. Our beliefs, traditions, and practices are not the same for everyone. We are all free to celebrate as we believe.

As I decorated my tree for my first Christmas without my husband Mike, who passed in January, I was transported down memory lane. Ornaments I made as a kid, hand-crafted treasures from my children and grandchildren, mementos of trips, and memories of loved ones no longer with us, all came together to envelop our tree in love and beautiful memories.  I am not going to lie, it is a tough journey of grief for me.

As I added my “Support Our Troops” ornaments I paused to think of my son, Major Jacob Absalon, who is deployed in Poland for 9 months. I am thrilled to be going to Germany soon to meet him for his leave with my daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. I know other families are feeling the ache of missing their loved ones as they serve across the globe.

A LOT is happening in the world right now. We are called upon to make judgments based on the media and our own connection to events. We must use and teach critical thinking skills to prepare our students for the future.

We are also called upon as educators to be mindful of our students and families. All that is happening affects their everyday lives. Holiday breaks may not be joyful for many who are struggling. Beliefs and traditions vary greatly for our families across Nebraska.

Our responsibility is to make every effort to help every student learn and grow. Building relationships takes a lot of work, effort, and care. It is good for us to also learn and grow as we accept and understand our students and families.

I am grateful for each of you and what you do to make a difference in the lives of ALL students. I am thankful for public schools in our communities meeting the diverse needs of our students from PK through Higher Education. I am blessed to be your NSEA President and to be learning and growing with you.

It is A LOT but together we are stronger!