By Laura Hanby Hudgens
I can still remember the intense agony of anticipation—sitting in front of the TV with my brother, glued to the 10:00 news, waiting, praying, pleading… Please let them say Berryville Public Schools. PLEASE let them say Berryville Public Schools!
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Then, if we were lucky–really, really lucky–after what seemed like an eternity, finally, finally there it was—confirmation!
A few times every winter, the same scene played out in homes all across our state. Whether we were 7 or 17, when we saw the name of our school scroll across the screen, kids everywhere jumped for joy. We laughed, we hollered, we danced around our living rooms in our pajamas!
We were getting a snow day!
Sadly, those days are over. In my state, there’s still a run on groceries every time there’s even a hint of snow in the forecast. But thanks to the wonders of modern technology and the pressure to ensure kids don’t fall behind (behind what, no one ever says), students today still have to “do school” even when they can’t go to class.
Of course, this experience is now a daily reality for many students who are learning remotely. And there’s no doubt that virtual learning has been an extremely valuable tool for schools and families during the pandemic. But even before COVID, many schools had abandoned snow days in favor of online lessons and take-home assignment packets. This is unfortunate.
Perhaps more than anyone else, and maybe even now more than ever—kids need snow days, especially our teenagers.
It might seem counterintuitive to argue that teens need a day off when so many of them are spending extra time at home these days. But whether they are staying home and attending classes virtually or putting on a mask and social distancing to attend classes in person, our teens are overwhelmed and tired. And giving them a snow day could be the bright spot they need during a stressful time.
Snow days aren’t just a break from school. They are a break from regular life, whatever that looks like—an invitation to wear pajamas, watch favorite movies, and bake cookies. And in a world where kids are often under constant pressure, a snow day can be a much-needed chance to decompress and recharge.
A snow day gives teenagers (and parents too, really) a chance to be kids again.
Playing in the snow is the stuff of childhood. Nothing will bring out the inner-eight-year-old in a big kid faster than a sled and a hill. And nothing brings back the childlike wonder and satisfaction like being the first person to walk across a pristine, snow-covered lawn.
Building a snowman, snowball fights, catching snowflakes on your tongue, making snow angels, and snow ice cream—they’re the stuff of happy childhood memories. A world white and crisp and clean and wonderful.
Snow is magic—and our stressed out teens could use a little magic.
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Teenagers are on the cusp of the rest of their lives. They’re no longer children, but not quite adults. It can be hard sometimes, living with one foot in each camp. But snow beckons them to play, coaxing them back to childhood. If only for a day.