Appreciate what you have

While it is the season of helping others, it is also a time to appreciate what you have.

Seventh and eighth grade students at St. Wenceslaus School learned that lesson with the program Cardboard City. To draw awareness to homelessness and help raise funds for organizations that help the homeless, students slept outside on Thursday, Dec. 20. Their only shelter against the cold was cardboard boxes. While they also had sleeping bags, blankets and layers of clothing, the students came away with an appreciation for heated homes.

It’s an experience I can understand. As a Boy Scout in Troop 199, I participated in more than one winter campout. For two nights we slept in tents. At the end of those weekends, I had a new appreciation of being able to stay warm, especially at night. It was nice to move around without having to wear several layers, especially snow pants, or not having to sit next to a fire or keep moving to warm up. It was a wonderful feeling to be able to wrap up in a blanket and stay warm throughout the night. I didn’t have to worry about being so cold and shivering so hard that I woke up.

It’s those experiences that help us realize this is the daily life for others. We come away with wanting to help and a deeper appreciation of what we have.

Happy Holidays I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas. That’s one of the holidays past and now the next one is the New Year celebration. Traditionally, New Year’s has not been a big holiday for me. Usually I would get together with some friends on New Year’s Eve, sometimes we would go out to a restaurant. For me New Year’s Day is a day to relax. Over the years that has ranged from skiing with family to just seeing a movie. Once I saw Fantasia 2000 at the Imax theater at the Minnesota Zoo.

Seeing that movie on such a large screen was an incredible experience. Of course, seeing a movie on a screen of a normal size is still better than watching it on a TV or a computer. I think it’s what makes movies still an experience, seeing it on a large screen and especially with a group of people reacting to it.

However you celebrate your New Year’s, I hope it’s a happy and a safe one.