By Chastity Harris
In light of recent events many of us have lost our Christmas spirit. Some feel like skipping the celebrations all together.
We need to embrace that holiday spirit like never before.
When my oldest child boarded the school bus for the first day of kindergarten I smiled and waved like a perky pageant queen. As soon as that sunshine-yellow child thief lumbered off I burst into tears.
It had nothing to do with my baby growing up, but everything to do with losing control.
For the first time I would not know what or how my child was doing all day. I was leaving him to his own devices and the care of strangers.
Even as a working mother I'd been able to call the babysitter, who was also family, at any time for updates. I could find out what they were doing, hear his voice or even stop by if I was so inclined. The beginning of public school changed all that.
Losing control meant gaining fear and anxiety as a parent.
As the world becomes increasingly chaotic and self-destructive, we can feel overwhelmed by despair or even hopelessness. Every newscast seems more tragic then the last.
I can't control what is happening in our nation and across the world. I can't turn around the economy. I can't stop senseless violence. I can't put an end to hate.
I can control my little piece of this world.
This holiday season I can celebrate peace, charity and love. I can make my home a place of comfort and joy and teach my children how to spread goodness in their little part of the world.
If many of us choose to act in this way all of our little pieces could add up to something really wonderful.
Darkness and tragedy may be thrust upon us, but it is our choice in how we react.
What support will we give? What strength will we gain?
I adapted to having children in school as all parents do. The teachers and staff that were "strangers" are now treasured friends. In a school of 1200 students the phenomenal ladies in the office call me and my children by our first names.
How did I go from terror to trust? I chose to embrace the new environment. Really to jump in with both feet. Cupcakes for a party? Sign me up. Parent teacher conferences? Never missed one. Kindergarten Career Day? Who knew you could hold five-year-olds spell bound with a model of a clogged artery?
By being a positive presence I felt more in control of my children's environment.
This Christmas I'm choosing to make my part of the world as bright as I can, for the sake of my family and my fellow man. Maybe no one else will notice, but I think just making that choice will give me a little more control over the fear and horror that has been reigning unchecked lately.
I will choose where I stand and I will not be moved.
What are you going to choose to do with your part of the world?
Chastity Harris is a Shenandoah County native. With the help of her husband of thirteen years, she juggles three kids, a full-time job, and a yard full of chickens. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.