Summer Gets Mike the Mailman's Official Stamp of Approval
It's official so . . . happy summer, everybody!
I can't believe that we are already into this season. As "they" say, time flies when you're having fun.
To reflect a little more on that, since today is the longest day of the year, it's interesting to think about how you spend every day, week, month, season, every year. It's your time: time to work, play, exercise, read, pray, attend events and parties, enjoy your family and friends, and much, much more.
It's funny how some days seem to pass by in the blink of an eye while others take their time, giving you time to thoroughly explore every hour. Although I'm a big believer in going with the flow, I think planning how you spend your time is very important. Besides all the ways I just mentioned, one activity that I believe is truly beneficial to everyone involved, including yourself, is volunteering.
Of all the local opportunities that we have in this area, my favorite event to volunteer at just happened a little over two weeks ago: The Pennsylvania Special Olympics. Now I've heard the term "friendly competition," but these kids take it to the next level. I'm not sure what were handed out more during this event: medals or hugs. Several years ago, my whole family and I volunteered together, and whatever we contributed to these kids, they gave it back to us two-fold.
There are always so many moments during the Special Olympics weekend that are impactful, but I have to share one story from the games just past. During one of the running events, right after the dash started, one of the runners tripped and fell. All the other competitors stopped, went over to him and helped him up, they then continued the race. That, to me, is phenomenal.
I think we forget sometimes that not only do kids learn from us, but we can learn from them. In the rat race of today, I'm going to take the time to be looking around a little more to see if anyone needs any kind of help up.
Again, this event really is a touching one to volunteer for. Upcoming volunteer opportunities in our area include the 4th Fest, which takes place over the Fourth of July weekend, and the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Fest in the middle of July. Please get involved; it is a worthwhile way to spend your time.
Another way to become more aware of how you choose to spend your time is when you have the chance to honor someone and the time they have spent in a passion-filled career.
Another big event happened the same weekend as the Special Olympics: Katie, my wife, celebrated her retirement with family, friends and colleagues.
Katie has touched the lives of countless children through education in eight schools here in State College over the past 33 years, starting as a classroom teacher and then, after receiving her master's in education at Penn State, becoming a reading specialist. It was a celebration that brought mixed emotions for both Katie and me. For her, she is really going to miss all the children, the funny things they say, seeing "the light bulb" moment in them, and just being around their youthful and energetic spirits. For me, I'm going to have to step up my game and get creative with how I manage to still watch football this fall.
Let me explain. For those of you who think that a teacher's day is 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. with summers off, guess again! Katie, like most educators, dedicated countless hours before and after the school day, on weekends, holidays and yes, even summers, to their jobs.
For the past 33 years, I was able to attend and watch countless football games over the weekends while Katie was in school working and planning. Now, I'm going to need to be creative to continue my football following!
I'm sure with the "honey-do" list and football, we will find a nice balance of my time somehow!
Congratulations to Katie and all her colleagues who recently celebrated their retirements. Thank you for all that you have contributed to our youth and community. I hope that now, Katie can begin to embrace her endless summer!
Until next time . . .