How will you survive the holidays this year?
Listen up! The holidays are here, and children everywhere are thrilled. But many teenagers and adults are wondering, how will we survive the holidays? Great question. Even in a normal year, so much happens with holiday travel, altered routines, and changing expectations. And this year we are facing new disappointments and health risks caused by the Omicron variant. Cancelled trips. Online only gatherings. Possible shortages. It’s enough to make a person scream! Or at least sigh. Very loudly.
So what is in your toolkit for surviving the holidays?
We know that the meaning of the season is supposed to deliver us from all the pettiness. But we also know when tensions run high that talk of meaning and purpose only takes us so far. This is compounded by grief and sadness and outrage over the last two years of disruption and disappointment. We need some practical strategies. We need watchwords to keep at the top of mind. Especially if we want to survive without regret or remorse. And if we want our children to see our better angels.
We don’t have a comprehensive list, but we do offer one solid suggestion: listen.
That’s it. Listen to each other. Go slowly enough through your days and through the whole holiday break that you actually take time to hear each other. Listening to children and teenagers can be an enormous challenge for adults under stress. Sometimes we need simple reminders to give attention to what really matters.
Youth Journal & Listening Guide
This holiday season, we have some simple reminders for you. Watch words and wisdom to help you stay focused on what really matters. We want you to be able to listen carefully to the young people in your life.
This project began as part of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute at the Children’s Defense Fund in the summer of 2021. I took six students and one faculty colleague to the online incarnation of the Dale P. Andrews Freedom Seminary last summer. It was amazing! The students are in the third cohort of the Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) at Central Seminary. Students read from a stunning syllabus and wrote papers and participated in a collaborative project.
The project was based first on the task of listening to young people. And after we listened, we created a response. We listened to youth in our circles, ages 12 to 20. Our response was to a put together a Youth Journal with open ended questions and an Adult Listening Guide to accompany it.
Now we are ready to share with you the fruit of our labors. We want to support you as you survive this holiday season. The main purpose of both downloads is to help us all listen better. To ourselves. To each other. And to God.
WLI Students, Tonya Ellis, Christina Rodriguez, JoAnn Scaife, Felicia Sims, Jenny Simmons, and Angela Zimmerman created these resources. They are in their final months of their MDiv studies. And it is a joy for Dr. Sally Holt and I to work with each of them.
You are invited to download the Youth Journal and the Adult Listening Guide today. We hope they will support you as you survive the holidays and listen with love to one another.Digital Guide Download Print Guide Download