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Sunny With a Chance of Sleet

Jeff JordanAs we look forward to Christmas, we often think about snow. But this is Seattle. Our “snow” often appears in the form of little drops, not fluffy flakes.

So far, winter in the Seattle area has been wet. More than 14 inches of rain have fallen since October 1. Yet this morning I sit in my office squinting to see my computer screen through the glare of bright sunlight. It’s a welcome relief from the drenching rain.

These changing conditions aren’t unusual for us. And during this Christmastime, I encourage you to prepare for the changing “weather patterns” of your returning SPU student. You may experience some goodly amounts of precipitation and moments of drought. I trust it won’t be too hot or cold.

The 10-day Forecast

The convergence of finals, term papers, and endless reading may have created a recent drought of sleep for your student. Additionally, your student may have experienced some stormy weather over the past few months. He or she has been making decisions and experiencing the results. Some of these decisions have worked out well. Some may have not.

Now as your student comes home, we all hope for clear and temperate weather. Your student will be looking forward to the “comfort” food only your home can provide — to the nourishing drizzle of home-cooked meals.

But remember: Your student has changed since the last time you were together. The guiding family principles that led your student in the past may not have been followed so closely during Autumn Quarter.

Handling Inclement Weather

Prepare to navigate possible “inclement weather” by recalibrating expectations. And as you check the forecast during Christmas Break with your student, keep in mind these suggestions:

  • Ask open-ended questions. What is she learning in and out of the classroom? What topics are interesting? What has changed, if anything, about why she enrolled at SPU?
  • Learn about your student’s circles. Who are the people he is learning with at SPU? What types of activities are meaningful or fun? Who has been a favorite faculty member?
  • Enjoy an activity together. Find something you can do with your student that is fun. Go out for a cup of coffee or tea. Go to a movie. Take a walk. Make it enjoyable. Laugh.
  • Listen and hear. Your student has been experiencing different weather patterns at SPU. You can’t change the real weather, but you can better understand SPU’s climate.
May God bless your time together. Merry Christmas!

Jeff Jordan
Dean of Students

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