The month of December brings many things into our lives. Stress. Joy. Craziness. Wonder. Gifts. Chores. And so much more.

It is, without question, one of the busiest months of the year. There is end-of-the-year work to be done, there are people to see, sidewalks to shovel, games to attend. The list is seemingly endless. It can be a similar feeling at school, as we start to wind down our first semester, and wrap up important projects, lessons, and tests prior to our Winter Break. Things can get hectic and stressful.

Something I stress to all members of the Monticello School District, and I want to stress to all members of the Monticello community, is to take a breath, slow down, and enjoy the most precious commodity we have this December - those that surround us.

Those of you who are closely connected to us as a district likely already know this about me, but I am a huge believer in the power and value of relationships. I believe relationships connect us, strengthen us, and guide us to be the person we want and need to be.

I think this time of year, more than any other, it’s important to focus on building and strengthening those relationships, as well as showing appreciation for the intentional efforts so many people around us make to improve our lives on a daily basis.

I’m so fortunate in my position as superintendent to be able to spend time moving through this great school district, where I get to watch these interactions, these moments of relationship building and of appreciation, happen on a daily basis. 

This month can be a stressful time for kids just as it can for adults, and as I’ve traveled from building to building I’ve seen so many of our educators take time to reach out to students, to connect, to deepen their bond, and to be there for them in moments of need. These moments may be fleeting, but their impact is long-lasting. Likewise, I’ve seen colleagues being there for colleagues, helping to lighten their load, provide a moment of comedic relief, or do whatever necessary to help their friend and colleague be the best person and educator they can be every day. And I’ve seen our students do the same. From elementary students supporting each other on a group project to high school athletes picking each other up off the court, the mat, or the ice, I know that we have a district full of kids that care for each. I see it every day.

People like that, moments like that … they surround us. 

This December, this winter, even throughout the year of 2019, I urge you to find those moments. Find those moments where you can be that person, where you can be there for a friend or a loved one in need, whether they just need a listening ear or a helping hand. But also find those moments where you can appreciate and enjoy the people around you, for everything they bring to your life on a daily basis. Whether it be a long-time friend, a spouse, a child, a parent, a new friend, or a long-lost relative, take a minute sometime and think about what they’ve brought to your life and try to put in perspective the value that so many people hold to us, and the radiant light that so many people bring into our lives.

Then, do your best to spend time with those people. Surround yourself with those you care about, those you enjoy. Connect with them. Invest in them. Deepen your bond. Be there for them, and let them be there for you, this December and every month after.

We are each other’s greatest resource. Appreciate the power you hold to help other people, and appreciate all of the help, big and small, that we receive on a daily basis. 

Appreciation, time, care, and effort. Those are the greatest gifts we can give, this month and always.

Have a safe, joy-filled month, Monticello community. We, as a district, greatly appreciate and enjoy every one of you, and everything you do to make this such a special community to be a part of. 

Eric Olson is the superintendent of the Monticello School District


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