Oh my, how snow days have changed! When I was a child I still remember praying, before falling asleep, for a snow day. I remember hearing the crackling noise of 84 WHAS radio and the voice of Tony Cruise announcing the schools that would be closed. When I heard “Catholic Schools,” I jumped out of bed, did a little dance, climbed back into bed, snuggled up with my blankets, and drifted off to sleep with a smile on my face.
When I woke up with the sunshine spilling through my shades I would have a big breakfast without rushing. Then I would get all bundled up, put bread bags over my socks, and stick my feet down in those tall black rubber boots and I was out the door to find my friends and play in the snow until I could no longer feel my toes. We would play for hours, come inside, warm up, and then go back out again. We built snowmen, had snow ball fights, went sledding, and just explored the beauty of the fallen snow through the fields near my house. We did not have a care in the world.
Now, my children pray for snow with me the night before a possible snow day. They sleep with a spoon under their pillows, with their pajamas on backwards and flush an ice cube down the toilet, in hopes that there will be a snow day! In the morning at about 5:30 all of our phones go off: our home phone, my cell phone, my husband’s cell phone, our emails and our texts. They are all on one call systems to alert us that school has been cancelled for all 4 of the Catholic Schools my children attend and the one where I teach. I go to each of my children tell them it’s a snow day, to turn off their alarm and to go back to sleep.
We wake up and I make them a big, hot breakfast but instead of going out to play in the snow they turn on their computers, iPad, and tablets. They check in with their teachers for their online day of school. They have anywhere from 1.5 hours to 6 hours of work to do. They do this so it can count as an instructional day of school, so the day will not have to be made up at the end of the school year. They do this because our technology is so advanced that we can do this.
After a few hours of learning we have lunch and then I make them stop the madness, get them ready, and I take them to a neighborhood hill to go sledding. We also help with shoveling some driveways and come home to some hot soup or, like I did yesterday, a taco bar. Then after dinner they all have to go back to their computers and try to finish their online work.
Snow days are not the break, freedom, and experience of pure joy they once were when I was a kid. I think it is important for a kid to get to be a kid but I also understand that technology also tends to dominate our lives. However, because I was able to have that experience I make sure that my children get a taste of it, no matter what!
Copyright 2016 Lori Hadorn-Disselkamp