This time of year is so exciting! Especially when you work in early childhood education! The artwork that comes out of children’s heads when they think about winter, the holidays and the changing environment around them is truly spectacular.
However, even as I make snowflakes with the kids at story time and anxiously await the first real snowfall myself, I can’t help but think of those who don’t have anywhere to go this time of year. The public library serves many in the homeless community of Providence, so winter is a very busy time in our library. Facing the reality that the people in the building everyday are here because they are trying to escape the very elements that I am celebrating is…well, I don’t know how to describe it. I feel incredible guilt that I am celebrating a season that so many dread. And yet, I love snow. And many children are experiencing the wonder of these changes for the first time. How do I balance my own joy with the struggles that so many are facing? I think that the answer is in service, and this time of year provides many opportunities to serve communities in need.
I hope to share this message with the children I serve…that this time of year is about giving and sharing. I hope to live in a world where we don’t turn a blind eye to those in need, simply because it is difficult or might ruin our picture of what the season is supposed to be. Yes, I want to go ice skating in Kennedy Plaza. I also want to do what I can to help the people that sleep there after I leave. I think we can have it both ways, but it requires reflection and self-awareness.