Schools in our area have been in the news and not for the right reasons. Drug possession, taking and sending pictures that are entirely inappropriate, harassment, all in front of our districts and even on the regional TV news. It drowns out the fact our middle school is in the top 1/3 in the state, our elementary in the top 15%.

And why? What’s going on that students feel the need to do things like this, to take pictures of themselves and send them, to tweet, text, using Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat to create this feeling of belonging, love, or whatever feeling they are needing? Where has our society failed? Where have we failed as parents? As teachers? As a community?

So, as I think about my students, both past and present, I have some Christmas wishes for you:

1. I wish that you would know that you are enough the way you are.

You are just right, now, the way you are. You are smart enough. You are strong enough. You are enough.

2. I wish you could look at yourself 10 years from now, and see how your choices now change the future.

Put the beer down. Put the drugs down. Put the knife down. You are enough, period. The damage you do now will haunt you down the road. Don’t be afraid of what’s to come, embrace it.

3. I wish you knew that right now, people worry and want to be there for you.

Friends, family, teachers, coaches, whomever, they want what’s best for you. And if they don’t, they shouldn’t be part of your life. Find that group that will bring out the best in you, that will raise you up when you need it. Hold on tight to them, and help to raise them up.

4. Most of all, I wish you peace.

I want you to find where the demons are that tell you to do these things, learn about them, then expel them. The more you listen to them, the more you act on them, the harder it is to break away. Let people help you, think about how your choice can change the future, and know, you are enough.

We all need a break right now, from school, from social media, from the political climate, from those whose own demons are firmly in control. Find some time to reflect and come back to us refreshed, renewed, and ready to take on the world.

I’ll be right there with you, so expect it from me.

Merry Christmas!