When there’s snow on the way, it’s easy for adults to get swept into preparation mode. History has taught us that sometimes just a little bit of snow can turn into a whole lot of snow in a hurry.
How much snow will we get? Will the roads be icy? How long will this last?
As humans, we tend to worry, and in rural America, sometimes the season when we worry the most is winter. While this is a natural instinct, worry has a way of taking the joy out of experiences. Worry clouds the lens of the present time because the worrier is solely focused on the future.
But do you know what winter also brings? The children at St. Joseph’s Indian School know it well … it brings magic!
There is magic in every snowflake caught on every eyelash and tongue pointed toward the sky. There is magic in every snow angel, snowman and snow fort. There is magic in the cups of hot chocolate that steam and warm the faces and souls of the children holding them. There is magic in the world outside covered in a blanket of white.
Thanks to the wačháŋtognaka — generosity — of our supporters, St. Joseph’s makes sure each child has the warm clothing they need to partake in the magic. Each child is given a coat, hat, scarf, gloves and boots. Better yet, children often pick-out their items from our Home and Office Department!
Seeing the children walk in and eye the rows and rows of coats is when the magic truly starts.
They are able to choose their items down to their favorite color and design. For some, it’s their first-ever shopping experience and it’s a special moment. They also become excited because they know on special occasions, they’ll be back to select warm clothing and presents for their family members who may still be in reservation communities, where winter can hit the hardest.
All of a sudden, the worry a child felt before that moment starts to fade, and in its place lives fun, play and joy. In those moments at St. Joseph’s, we’re reminded winter also brings faith. It brings hope. When we put our trust in Tȟuŋkášila — Creator — there will be supplies given to us by the goodness and generosity of others, we need not worry.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself …” — Matthew 6:34
When you give to St. Joseph’s, please understand your generosity provides more than just a coat. It provides children with faith, hope and trust that they’ll be taken care of. More recently, it’s provided afternoons in the snow — where children’s hearts and minds were filled with fond memories of friends, laughter and joy.
They may outgrow their coat, and next year they’ll need a new one. But, what they won’t outgrow is their memories.
They bask in the joy — in the wonder — of this season despite the hardships they may have previously faced. They don’t have to worry about tomorrow, and that brings a lot of relief to a child.
Philámayaye — thank you — for helping make winters magical for Lakota children at St. Joseph’s and beyond.