Three Ways to Find Connection During the Holidays

Author: Dustin Odham
November 21, 2022

Three Ways to Find Connection During the Holidays


For many families, this time of year is one of connection. Whether it’s gathering around the table for a holiday dinner or creating a holiday card list, this is a time to celebrate what each one of us brings to our respective community. For myself and many others, this season is also a time to reflect on how we can better connect with and reach out to those in our classrooms or communities who might be struggling or feel unseen. 


In that spirit, I’d like to suggest a few simple connection strategies to be present in every moment and better love and serve the people around you.


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The goal of this month’s blog is to simply capture connection strategies. Here they are:

  1. Set your intentions every day. 

Take five to ten minutes in the morning to visualize your day. Imagine yourself interacting with the people you know you will see that day. Picture yourself connecting with each of them in a way that makes them feel seen, known, and loved. Visualize how you will respond when an adult or student behaves unexpectedly. How will you show them love and respect in that moment, even if it feels like they don’t deserve it?

If you had a much tougher morning than expected, take three to five minutes in silence to reset your intentions and visualize how you are going to love and serve people for the rest of the day. This is something I try to use before I engage with my wife and kids after each work day, and I find it helps me to be much more present with them.

  1. Keep track of the people in your care and the touch points you have with them.

I take no credit for this one. In fact, I give the credit to a friend of mine, Matt Miller, who is a long-time educator, consultant, and coach. In an effort to ensure that no teacher or student fell through the cracks, he created a spreadsheet to track the timing and the type of touch points (i.e., text, call, in-person conversation, handwritten note, etc.) he had with each of them. He took notes on their responses to his questions regarding how they were doing and always tried to follow up early and often.

Admittedly, my first reaction to seeing this system was that it felt disingenuous. That was over a decade ago. Now I understand its brilliance, as well as the genuine love that was behind it. We are all incredibly busy people who get lost in our own day-to-day challenges. If we are truly committed to loving and serving the people in our care, we need to have a system in place to ensure we are personally connecting with each of them in the midst of the whirlwind of life.

  1. Love and show grace to everyone every day.

I am not encouraging anyone to get walked on, or for anyone to remain in an unhealthy or unproductive relationship. I am simply trying to challenge us to love and show grace to people regardless of whether we think they deserve it.

One of my favorite reminders that a mentor of mine would give me growing up was, “What good is love if I only love the people who I think deserve it?” The power of love is loving people regardless of whether we think they deserve it. Like anyone, I struggle to put this into practice every day, but this is the type of love and grace I am trying to give to everyone around me as it’s the kind of love and grace I would like to receive.

Life is really tough on everyone right now, so let’s give more love and more grace.

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