Today, I woke up and discovered my children’s school was closed due to inclement weather. This was the type of snow day that was unexpected – we were not forecast to receive large amounts of snow (nor did we, schools were closed due to dangerous wind chill temperatures) – so the school cancellation was a surprise.
My first reaction did not mirror my children’s. This unexpected day was going to interrupt my and my wife’s work schedules. I thought about the children having Monday off (MLK Day) and now they were out of school on Tuesday. I am sure I ran through some other thoughts in my head (in my day we did not miss school for cold temperatures, it is not that bad out, who made this decision, etc.) until I decided to focus on my children.
Their utter joy in receiving this news reminded me of two lessons I need to implement in my work life. First, appreciate the small gifts when they come your way. A nice note, kind word, thoughtful gesture often do not receive our full attention and appreciation. Too often we focus on larger issues and miss the small “wins” along the way. An unexpected day off from school is a gift to kids and they embraced it. They did not focus on whether they will need to make the day up, if the test that was supposed to be today will be tomorrow, or not seeing their friends – they appreciated the gift of an unexpected day off.
My second lesson is to not put off what can be done right away. Too often I find myself looking at my calendar for the next day, deciding that I will have plenty of time on the following day to tackle a particular project, only to find that an emergency cropped up and ruined my plan. A snow day would fall into the “emergency” category. The option to have an hour or two to work through a project at work does not exist on a snow day – taking care of one’s responsibilities as soon as possible allows one to deal with these inevitable ‘unexpected’ emergencies.
I wish I could say that I enjoyed the snow day as much as my kids, but that would be a lie. Playing in the snow, drinking hot chocolate, and hanging out watching a movie was a gift that I appreciated. Not having to worry about a project at work that should have been done the day before allowed me to enjoy the day. I hope you will be able to recognize and appreciate the gifts when they come – and that you are prepared to enjoy them.
Even with the gift of this Tuesday, thank God the weather looks good for tomorrow!