This morning we awoke to temperatures in the minus teens in the Syracuse area. It’s not necessarily uncommon for our temperatures to get that cold, but it’s rare. Last night on Twitter I was discussing the issue with a few people and it got around to the question of whether or not school would be closed because of the weather.

The Syracuse area is known for snow. Every year we seem to win what’s called the Golden Snowball Award, which goes to the “big city” with the most snow annually. We get more snow than any other large city in the country most of the time. Because of that, we end up with a lot of snow days that schools end up having to use to keep kids home. That makes sense; after all, even though our plowing system is superb, they can’t be everywhere during some of our snow events.

But cold weather is a different animal. I know something about cold and school. I grew up for a short period of my time in Limestone, ME. We used to stand out at the bus stop when the temperatures were just under -30F. If it was that temperature or colder, they closed school; otherwise, it was business as usual. Actually, my first year there we didn’t even have a school bus; we had to walk to school, which was a major chore. But we were bundled; people don’t learn to live ni that environment without knowing how to protect themselves from the elements.

So, I tend to be someone who, even though I don’t like cold, doesn’t have a great problem with it; as long as it’s not also windy. As the conversation was going along I mentioned that when we were kids there never would have been a discussion as to whether there was school or not just because it was a “little” bit colder than normal. Then one of the people, who also doesn’t have kids, wrote “just because we did it in our time doesn’t mean it was the right thing to do.”

It got me thinking about how times really have changed to a major degree. I mentioned that when I first moved to Maine we didn’t have school buses, yet within a year we did; times changed. Someone decided it wasn’t good for kids under 13 to have to walk in weather that cold anymore. And it was a good move, even if they kept us outside. Actually, in the same year they added school buses, they also finally allowed girls to wear pants in school; I’d almost forgotten that.

What applies to schools then and now actually also applies to business in today’s world. There are business practices that were in place even just 10 years ago. Actually, many have probably changed in the last 3 years as social media has started making inroads into traditional business practices. For almost anyone, running a business or a department across the board the same way it was run years ago is a recipe for disaster. Whereas good customer service practices and interpersonal skills never go out of style, the way one teaches them has changed because the people learning those skills have changed.

Indeed, my friend on Twitter was right with her statement in general. There are a lot of negative things that people don’t do anymore as times have changed. It’s always important that someone is evaluating old methods and processes to see if they’re still valid and still safe. Should certain things change? Obviously yes. Should everything change? It depends on evaluation.

By the way, Syracuse schools didn’t close today; seems that’s one thing that hasn’t changed after all.