I came across this blurb online the other day and it got me thinking about our fast-paced and sometimes frenzied lifestyle: “Black Friday — because only in America people trample each other for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.”
I think sometimes, as Americans, we can get all caught up in the hype we are constantly bombarded with and forget to stop, take a deep breath, appreciate our surroundings and give thanks for our many blessings. While it is no secret that the country has become extremely polarized on a number of issues and we’ve experienced our share of the fallout here in Lancaster, I think at this time of year there are a few things we can all genuinely agree upon.
Family: Nothing compares to a little down time with family and friends. I’m talking face to face, side by side, good, old-fashioned family bonding. This is a great week to enjoy decades-old family traditions, but if you have no established traditions yet, how about starting some new ones? Instead of Black Friday, how about Unplugged Friday? Ask everyone to put down their personal electronic devices and spend the afternoon playing board games or curled up on the couch with books. Or, if the urge for electronics is too overwhelming, then pop some popcorn the old-fashioned way and bring out the favorite family movies.
At the same time as I am looking forward to having a brief respite with my family this weekend, I can’t overstate how thankful I am that the Lancaster Central School District has such a phenomenal team in place to take care of, nurture and educate our community’s children, yours and mine. We have been through a lot together as a community, and our faculty and staff are right there with us, every step of the way, to ensure that we provide a world-class education in the most fiscally responsible way possible.
I’m thankful for school bus drivers who are promoting a more welcoming climate with the Peace Bus initiative. I’m grateful to teachers and paraprofessionals who not only do their best to provide individualized attention to every student in their classroom, but also serve as role models for their students by organizing food and gift drives for our community’s less fortunate. And to our unsung heroes, the Board of Education, which serves without compensation and does its best to set the policy and direction under sometimes challenging constraints; parent volunteers, who not only advocate for their children but also dedicate hours of their time to making our schools the pride of our community; and the members of LEAF, our foundation, who work behind the scenes providing support for so many worthwhile endeavors, I am eternally grateful.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend with your family and friends and find some time to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for in this community. On behalf of the children, most of all, I thank you.