Changing Traditions

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Last  week it was my birthday and in the past I would never put up Christmas Decorations before my birthday. I am the type of person who likes to do one celebration as a time. However, this year I decided to be different and I started a few days before. Why? It’s simple. Our family is changing and  I want to really enjoy the moments of this Christmas.

Four years ago, my son went off to college. I don’t think I realized the impact on Family traditions fully until this year. There has been a slow transition to doing holiday traditions without him. The first year we managed to get it all in. He was here Thanksgiving. Followed a few weeks later by a trip home for Christmas, which was just in time to do the traditional Santa picture and to decorate the tree. During year two, the Santa picture didn’t happen and year three helping with the Christmas tree was abandoned. The last holdout was Thanksgiving, which for many is the first holiday to go. His actual presence was replaced with a laptop and dinner conversation via Skype.

My son replaced our family traditions with spending time with his friends. He now realizes that the time that you spend with friends is not limitless. When he comes home he juggles seeing us with seeing old friends, who all have the same challenge. I feel very fortunate that he has been able to stay in touch with the friends that mean so much to him especially due to technology like Facebook and Skype. However, there is this small longing for the past.

So this Christmas, I will truly cherish my son’s presence and soak it all in.  My son continues to mature and make his own place in the world. My other son will follow, and my daughter after that. So I will truly enjoy having all three of my children with me this year. I will take out the time from this hectic holiday to soak in who they are at this moment. It is amazing to me how they grow and change from year to year developing different interests. I encourage them to explore different things, stay true to themselves, and enjoy life.  For I know one day, Christmas itself will be a holiday that we won’t spend together and they will be creating new traditions of their own.

“No Palm Trees”

Palmtrees

Fall is the perfect time to visit colleges. As seniors make their final decisions on what colleges to apply to, I am reminded of the importance of location when selecting colleges.

When speaking with one high school student, she had made a determination to not go to a school that had palm trees. The parents were really frustrated because many top schools in the academic field she had chosen had palm trees. Hence, the parents thought that this was a random criteria to base a decision on.

However, let’s approach this in a different way. Everybody has an environment that gives them a sense of inner peace and that special feeling of calm. From a relaxing beach, to a serene forest, to a bustling city, only you can determine the perfect place for you. I believe the college you choose should give you that special feeling,

For the vast majority of students, college is the first time that they will be living on their own. Freshman year is a big transition, and being in an environment that makes you feel comfortable can help reduce stress.

There are thousands of colleges to chose from in almost any environment imaginable. More important that the ranking of the school is the ability for the student to adjust to being on their own, and to take advantage of every opportunity that the college has to offer.

So, if you are a senior, consider the location in your college search. If you think about it, this may be the one time in your life that you can take just your feelings into account. Later there may be grad school, job, and possibly the opinion of a partner to consider.

If you are in middle school through high school, students should travel and experience different environments. Only by exploring can you determine just the right environment for you.