Whiteman's World

Whiteman's World



Give Your Children the Gift of Time This Holiday Season. 

The Holiday Season is quickly upon us and parents are struggling to find the time, money and ideas as to what to get loved ones. There is a distinct difference between need and want. What your children want versus what they need are two very distinctive things. Working with at- risk youth, I see first -hand the stress and anxiety in some of our families at this time of the year. Statements like-“ I don’t know what to get my children, I feel awful we don’t have any extra money to get our children anything, and I don’t know how I am going to find the time to get all of this done is expressed through my office daily. 

As a parent/family you will always be your children’s favorite gift. Your PRESENCE NOT PRESENTS is what they need and will cherish. Time = love, your time and emotional investment into your children are the greatest gifts you can give them. Does the phrase – “money can’t but love” resonate with you? Our children don’t need another game, sweatshirt or useless toy- they need you, the parents, invested in their lives. Your number one time priority should always be on your family. A true investment into your children is giving them your undivided time, attention, focus and love.

As a society we need parents to give their time- attention and focus to their kids today more than ever. Trust me in 20 years your children will not remember what gift you gave them this Christmas – they will however never forget the times and memories you shared. This is why Holiday traditions are so memorable and priceless- kids will never ever forget your traditions you shared in your family. Each family has unique holiday traditions that make them special. I honestly can’t remember one gift my grandmother ever gave me- but making cookies listening to Jingle Bell Rock on her record player are forever etched in me. What I would do to have one more of those days with her.

There are so many things you can do with your children that do not involve any money at all. A few examples that are absolutely free are:

              Read a book together

              Talk a walk around the neighborhood as a family

              Put a puzzle together 

              Play Tic –Tac –Toe

              Cook or bake together

              Color pictures together

              Create a family scavenger hunt 

              Create a coupon book – e.g. dad will play a game of your choice 

              Create a blessing bowl- as a family list all the things you are grateful for and place them in a bowl

              Go to the library together 

              Take pictures as a family together

As my wife always tells me giving experiences versus gifts are way more meaningful. Your children will never forget experiences! Experiences equal time and memories. If you can financially afford to give your child experiences versus gifts the following are some examples:

              Take them bowling 

              Take them roller skating

              Take them on vacation

              Take them skiing

              Take them to see their favorite college or pro team play.

              Take them to see a musical

              Take them to a waterpark 

              Take them to the movies

               Purchase Art or music lessons

              Take them to Car races or monster truck shows

              Take them to get a Pedicure 

              Take them Horseback riding 

Time and Focus on Others – make this a time to teach your family to focus on and serve others. Use your family time to make someone else’s life better. A motto we are adopting is “Spend Less. Give More.” Christmas is a great time to put our call to serve and focus on others into action. 

              Adopt a family – Take gifts, cookies or even throw a Christmas party for a family in need. Do this as a family, and let your kids help with the shopping.

              Give Life – Did you know you can give a family in need a goat, ducks, medical supplies, clean water and hope? World Vision produces their Christmas catalog where you can help families who have little in third world countries.

              Blessing Bags – Help the homeless! Buy supplies, make cards and put together homeless packs that are vital to their survival. Distribute the blessing bags to the homeless in your community.

              Serve at your local Food Kitchen- donate your time to serve

              Stuff a Stocking – SOAR International sends stuffed stockings to children in need in third world countries.

              Adopt a Soldier – Find a soldier to adopt over the holidays. Send letters and care packages.

              Help Foster Children – Contact your local foster child program to see if there are ways you can provide a stuffed animal, clothes or back packs filled with activities for a child who comes into their system with nothing.

              Christmas Cookie Delivery – Make up a bunch of Christmas cookies and pass out on the streets as a random act of kindness.

              Give to Your Local Food Bank – The food banks have a high need during the holiday times. Consider giving over the holidays or throughout the year.

              Invite People Into Your Home – There are many people without a family this Christmas. You might know a widow, a single mom or dad, a single person, a college student, or someone in the military who you can invite into your home. You can be the family that they don’t have.

              Visit your local nursing homes- there are so many lonely and shut in at nursing homes. All these people want is your time – someone to visit with them.

              Visit Children’s Hospital- there are so many families fighting great battles in there- spread a little generosity and cheer. Drop off some baked goods, gift cards, gas cards or toys.

              Visit your local Cancer unit- Cancer is a horrific disease that affects so many. Drop off candy canes, homemade Christmas Cards, cookies and simply give them a note of encouragement.

I want to take this time to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year. I challenge you to focus on helping others by giving them your time, attention and support. Make this your New Year’s resolution – give your time to others. The greatest gift you can give someone is yourself. PRESENCE NOT PRESENTS! May your focus be simply caring and sharing your time and love this holiday season.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Todd Whiteman

Superintendent Foxfire Schools

Grateful Image

As we approach Thanksgiving and the start of the Holiday Season I think it is a great opportunity for all of us to embrace an attitude of gratitude for all the blessings in our lives. So what exactly does an attitude of gratitude mean? An attitudeof gratitudemeans making it a habit to express thankfulness and appreciation in all parts of your life, on a regular basis, for both the big and small things alike.


 "If you concentrate on what you have, you'll always have more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you'll never have enough."

Here is a menu of tactics that can help all of us develop that Attitude of Gratitude.

  • Wake up every day and express to yourself what you are grateful for
  • Tell whoever you are with at the end of the day the 3 things you are most grateful for
  • Tell whoever you are with right now (significant other, friend, family member, etc.) the 3 things that you are most grateful for in this moment
  • Start a gratitude journal - Express gratitude in this journal every night by noting the things that you are grateful for, proud of, and excited about
  • Acknowledge yourself for what you have done and accomplished in the last day/week/month/year. Instead of comparing yourself to others, give yourself credit for the big and small things you have been doing! 
  • Acknowledge other people and thank them for inspiring/helping/supporting you - oftentimes people wait their whole lives to be acknowledged (and yet it happens far too infrequently)!


It can be really difficult to think of things you are grateful for when everything in your life seems to be going wrong.  Countless studies show that finding a bit of thankfulness ea?ch day can actually increase our happiness level and decreases depression.  By developing an Attitude of Gratitude, we can feel more fulfilled and joyful each day. An Attitude of Gratitude is a regular ?habit to express appreciation for all different parts of life, no matter how small.  

We can always find reasons to complain and criticize, but it takes more effort to find reasons to be thankful. We are admonished to do it “whatever happens” which is an even greater challenge but it is what God wants us to do. A lack of gratitude will result in your never being truly happy and when things don’t go well we will be bitter and angry. Seek to find the good in our lives- it is there we just have to look for it and recognize it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Todd Whiteman


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