Don’t Waste Your Snow Day

Snow days can be fun, but they can also feel like an interruption. Calling school off means parents changing plans, scrambling to figure out what to do with kids at home. Work is disrupted, and you can’t get done everything you wanted to. Travel is hard: what normally takes 5 minutes to drive becomes 35 minutes or more. With all the hassle, it can be tempting just to try to survive a snow day and wait for things to get back to normal.

But that would be a mistake. Because snow days are not just a hassle, they can also be a gift. Snow days are not to be wasted. It’s not just about fun time as a family, though that’s part of it, but specifically, a chance to connect with people around you.

This past week or so has given my wife and me a chance to get to know our neighbors better than we had yet. Granted, we moved into our new house only in December, so we haven’t been here long, and winter months have limited our chances.

Nonetheless, the snow days have provided great opportunities. We’ve stood in the cul-de-sac and laughed about digging ourselves out and lamented the seeming scarcity of snow plows. More than once I’ve seen a car struggling to get traction, and we’ve come out of our houses to help push them out. Maybe you have a snow blower, and you can serve your neighbors by clearing their driveways for them. Or maybe it’s just you and the shovel, but you can do the same, with a little more time and sweat. Maybe you can bake cookies and take them to some of the neighbors, or you can organize a game and invite another family over. You can probably multiply the possibilities.

Most of us know our neighbors far less than we’d like to, less than was the case in just the previous generation. Often we do no more than wave as we drive by and each pull into our garages and lower the doors behind us. But a snow day up-ends our normal busyness and isolation and can open the chance to serve the people around us and connect with them. So next snow day (of course I confess I’d be happy if we’re done for this year), don’t hunker down, but instead look for ways to be a good neighbor.

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