Generally, when snow days roll around I find myself sighing deeply, with a bit of dread.
My husband and I both enjoy some blessed flexibility with our jobs, but snow days often mean balancing work while supervising kids for half a day, then switching off for the other half of the day.
However, our most recent snow day turned into an incredible learning experience for a couple members of my family.
Last week, I was scheduled to attend the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Business Expo on behalf of one of my freelancing jobs. With slick roads and children home, I went with instinct and sent an e-mail that I wouldn’t be able to make it after all.
An e-mail back encouraged me to reconsider and to bring the kids, but mom instinct said, “No way.”
Still, the idea of a dismal day spent driving each other crazy had no appeal, and I finally negotiated with my husband for our quiet kid to stay with him and our more social daughter to go with me.
“But I’m shy,” she insisted.
“So am I,” I told her. “But this will be great practice to learn how to talk to people anyway.”
We made our way through the sea of faces to our appointed booth, and began to get our bearings, chatting with passers-by, encouraging them to play the games, handing out materials and more.
And in those hours I watched my daughter transform from an elementary-aged child into the young woman I dream she will become.
She first warmed up to the others within our immediate booth, and it wasn’t long before my little worker bee found herself a few tasks — making sure the materials stacks on the table stayed stocked, then greeting those who walked by, then giving instructions for the game and handing out prizes.
With a little encouragement, my mini-me had blossomed, actively engaging those around her and demonstrating all of the skills I knew had been developed within (and landing herself a few job offers in the process).
The time we had committed to came and went, but she wasn’t ready to go yet, so we continued on, pushing toward the end of the day.
She dropped off to sleep while we made our way home, and I smiled proudly, knowing that she had worn herself out giving it her everything.
It made me think that in all that we do we work to provide our children a solid foundation on which to build their lives: a spiritual footing, school skills, time to play and opportunities in which they need to act grown up. We do this in the belief that what we instill at a young age will show up someday and help guide them throughout life.
But what a thrill it was to watch it happen.
For her, the snow day turned out to be tremendously educational, as she got to learn how to handle herself in a professional setting.
For me, it was equally educational as a reminder of how much they are learning at each step along the way, helping me to again take to heart this piece of proverbial wisdom:
Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
— Sarah Gooding is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.