Today is a snow day for me.
But many students today are waking up to yet another virtual school day. Logging on. Doing their work. Missing interaction with friends and mentoring adults.
It’s the opposite of what used to be. What seems so long ago. Sledding, snowman building, hot chocolate, and digging out.
I think back to last year in March when the governor announced that schools would close “for two weeks.”
I was in the grocery store later that day with a large number of my town’s fellow citizens. Shelves of canned and paper goods, nearly cleared. Yet the mood was like a holiday but even lighter. We hadn’t had a snow day that year. Not even a delay. And now we were getting a spring break.
A break from which some have not yet returned.
I talked with a class of high school students last week (our small school is in-person) about human purpose–about our need to engage others and do work.
They agreed that even playing video games gets old without human fellowship.
They understand something perhaps only experience can teach. They have a new appreciation for the everyday routine they had before COVID.
I think, every so often, of Dawid Sierakowiak, a Jewish teen in Lodz, Poland, during the Holocaust. Dawid (pronounced David) kept journals a la Anne Frank. When the Nazi occupation came, Jews were no longer allowed to go to school.
I remember Dawid’s torment at not being permitted to learn. It was the opposite of what I witnessed in the grocery store last year. But Dawid understood that his “school vacation” was not to be just two weeks.
He was right.
Had students understood last year that many of them would be away from their friends for nearly a year, the mood in the store would have been somber.
Humans yearn for fellowship. We need each other. We need something to do besides games.
Many young people understand now that having to go to school–getting to go–is a gift.
It’s a gift I hope our town soon experiences after so long.