Be an avenue of hope and kindness this holiday season

by Corey Holland

UNcommon Sense

Corey Holland, Superintendent of Marlow Public School District

December often brings snow, comfort food, and some time to reflect on the previous year. For me, some of the best things about December are the Christmas songs and movies.

Surely I won’t be the only one singing The Christmas Song in my car over the next few weeks. I can hear Nat King Cole singing it as I type. As for movies, it’s close, but Elf is my all-time favorite. It is a story about an elf who is trying to find his place in the world after he learns he is actually a human with a family he has never met. The elf character, Buddy, played by Will Ferrell, has this positive optimism from having grown up at the North Pole. As Buddy encounters people and situations in New York City while looking for his dad, that positivity is constantly coming into conflict with the harsh realities of the world.

There is just something about watching this struggle unfold that really impacts me. Buddy’s positive outlook on life, regardless of his current circumstances, is infectious.

Today we have access to news to the largest degree in human history. Something can happen halfway around the world and in minutes, I can see it or read about it on the internet. It is often overwhelming.

Have you noticed, whether it be on the news or the internet, most of what is shared seems to focus on bad events? Is this because bad news sells better or appeals to something ugly inside us? Either way, bad news is much more distributed and discussed than good news in my experience. And before you think I am getting too judgmental, I have asked myself if I operate any differently in my own life. If I go out to eat and have either terrible service or incredible service, which am I more likely to share with others? If I am honest, it is the former. I am not sure why but it is a truism for most people.

Maybe, unlike the elf in the movie, we lost our positive optimism about the world long ago.

Christmas is a great time to regain some of that positivity. It is a time to reflect. A time to take a personal inventory of our year and refocus our outlook.

Regardless of our life experiences, there are certain things we can all be thankful for. Watching Christmas movies, listening to Christmas songs, and hopefully getting to spend some time with family and friends can help us grow in thankfulness.

That said, I know for many, the holiday season can be difficult. Our neighbor may be hurting through the holiday season. We should all do our best to be an avenue of hope for these. One thing we all can do, and it doesn’t cost anything, is committed to being kind.

Kindness is a greatly underutilized resource but it still makes a huge impact on people’s lives. None of us can fix all the negativity going on in the world but we can choose whether we put more of it out there or not.

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