Have you been swept up by Olympic fever? The domination of the television coverage, tweets, texts and news reports has made it difficult to avoid. The talk around the proverbial water cooler has certainly surrounded the Olympics.
The diversity of events provide something to appeal to most everyone: ski cross, ice skating, speed skating, curling, biathlon, bobsled and of course hockey. Although the events are diverse, the commonality is the perseverance of the athletes. The years of dedication and practice. The patience. The precision. The skill. The stamina. The drive.
And though we celebrate moments of triumph when medals are hung around the athletes’ necks, there are also moments of heartbreak. Those years of persistence and practice seem all for naught when a fall, mistake or misstep push the medals out of reach. How devastating to think that years of dedication can end in a loss by hundredths of a second or mere millimetres.
Regardless of their rank or whether or not they land on the podium, the athletes entertaining us in the Olympics, those who make us gasp and cheer, are most certainly successful by the very fact that they are Olympians. They are the best in their field.
As the Olympic flame is extinguished, let us be inspired to persevere and persist in our own lives, wherever our passions lie.
Recently I heard the term ‘heroically patient’. I am lucky enough to witness this characteristic every day. Many situations come to mind that require teachers to be heroically patient. Whether it is with the little one who quite literally cannot sit still, or with the boy who blurts out the most puzzling, bizarre statements in front of his peers, or with the one who hides under the table and refuses to speak, patience is required.
Kids come from all sorts of backgrounds and life experiences. Sometimes we know their history and sometimes we can only presume. Regardless, educators most certainly require a heroic amount of patience. If only our role was to educate our students. If only life, emotion and human frailty didn’t get in the way. If only.
Of course, most of us didn’t get into education to teach curriculum. We teach kids. And those life experiences, those roller-coasters of emotion, those tears, that laughter, that energy, all make our job worthwhile (and certainly never dull). Some days I draw on a little patience and some days I dig deep for a whole lot more. But when I receive a hug from the child who was previously under the table refusing to talk, I know why I do the job I do.
“Be patient with those who are learning, for the more patient you are the more they will learn.” Anonymous
I received a fitbit for Christmas. Among other things it tracks my steps. I am now more cognizant of each step I take and much more motivated to get active than I was before wearing it. My goal is 10 000 steps/day at least 4 times a week. I have to work at it though: 10 000 steps doesn’t just happen in the regular course of my day.
A few days ago I had a revelation. My father didn’t take any steps for the last 6 years of his life. Not one. And the three or four years before that, very few at all and each one of those was an effort. Multiple Sclerosis robbed him of this very basic of activities: walking.
With every step I take, I am grateful. I am grateful for the opportunity to stay active and mobile. I am grateful for my independence. When 10 000 steps seems hard to reach, I know my father is encouraging me to take those steps and more importantly to enjoy each and every one.
When I think back to this past week, the moments that stand out are those snippets of conversation with kids.
Between two girls and myself: “Are you coming to Galaxyland tonight?” “No, I can’t. I curl every Friday night.” “You can’t come because you have to curl your hair?” “Not that kind of curl!”
From a 7 year old who recently moved from Africa: “Summer, tomorrow?”
And my favourite of all: “Oh, you found someone to play Xs and Os with?” “No, I was playing against myself.” “Did you win?” “No, I was X.”
Leave it to kids to bring sunshine to our days, simply by what they say!