Happy New Year from the SEL Center!
It’s early January – a time of contradictions and conflicting emotions. It’s that time of year when we simultaneously want to refresh, renew, and try new things AND want to curl up on the couch and wait out the cold. It’s a time when we want our students and youth participants to buckle down and get back into work yet we get as excited about the prospect of a snow day as they do. We crave routine and order yet miss the chaos and excitement of the holidays as the winter stretches out with no good excuse to eat chocolate anywhere on the horizon.
As educators, youth workers, parents, caregivers, and ultimately individuals, we have to give ourselves and our children permission to live in the uncomfortable spaces between those conflicting emotions. Rather than insisting on routine and order, we can allow a little bit of flexibility to accommodate everyone’s need to jump back in slowly. In my family, that means saying “sure” when my oldest daughter asks to have a sleep over in sister’s room because she doesn’t really want to sleep alone after a week of camping out during our visits to family and friends. It means saying “sure” when my middle daughter asks to postpone her shower (which she hates!) until tomorrow so she can sleep for 5 more minutes. It means saying “sure” when my son asks if he can have dessert, even though I had planned a moratorium on sweets after the sugar rush of the past few weeks. Not because I was being an overly indulgent parent, but because I recognize they need to ease back into routines. They need to feel like all the fun and excitement of the past month didn’t just shut off when the clock struck 2018. And secretly, I need it too. I need a few more days to hit the snooze button, to linger over my morning coffee, to spend a few extra minutes chatting with colleagues before heading back to my computer. Because all of those little extras, that permission to take it slow, makes it easier for me to let go of the rush of the past few months and be ready to jump in with two feet.
Wishing you a very happy new year and a start to 2018 filled with moments of both renewal and comfort!
SEL Center Director