Some people try to be the expert in everything. Others claim to be. Truth is, none of us are good at everything. It’s just not possible. An important task of educators is to teach our students to be realistic about their talents and skills: to help uncover their strengths and passions and inspire them to reach their full potential.
Stephen Covey once said, “Leadership is communicating to another person their worth and potential so clearly they are inspired to see it in themselves.” Curriculum, yes of course. Inspiration, essential.
The idea of aging confronted me a few times over the last few days. I started reading a book about a grandfather who discovers how to reverse the aging process and his body returns to that of a teenager. A friend and I also had a conversation about extended life expectancies. Simply by virtue of living longer, our bodies are forced to fight more ailments and disease.
My friend and I decided that humans need a new and improved version: Human 2.0. We don’t want to reverse the aging process (I personally would not want to be a teenager again), we simply want to live our longer lives, healthier.
Of course it’s not only in old age that we face illness. This really hit home on Thursday morning when I received a cupcake and a precious note. It was to celebrate a milestone for Riley, a grade one student: one year cancer free! At his young age, he has endured years of sickness and treatment. I pray he will live a long, healthy, happy life: I pray that his health battles are behind him.
I’ve never been bothered by the idea of getting older. And illness it seems is almost a given at some point in our lives. Perhaps the secret is this: face whatever comes with a positive attitude. Just like Riley.
I found myself humbled twice today. First, by my grandmother’s idol: the Irish singer Daniel O’Donnell. A few days ago, I sent an email asking if he could perhaps contact her. She just turned 94 and recently entered palliative care. Within hours of receiving my request and her contact information, he telephoned her. Despite his busy schedule and likely many, many requests, he took the time to make a 94 year-old’s day. In fact, she was so elated I think he added a decade to her life!
I was humbled again today when I met a family who lost their home to the Fort Mac fire two weeks ago. The two young children played happily despite the trauma of the last few weeks, protected by those who love them. The husband and father, a firefighter, was reunited with his family a few short hours before I arrived. He has been fighting the fire the last two weeks despite being separated from his family and losing his own home to the blaze. The children’s t-shirts say it best: “I’m proud of my dad.”
“For a true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength but by the strength of his heart.” Hercules
What’s the latest definition of synergy? 350 students in a gym, screaming excitedly as their teachers perform a variety of challenges: a dress-up relay, a basketball free-throw (complete with silly string and confetti distractors), and a couple of whipped cream pies in the face.
Why, you ask? To raise money. Students worked together to raise over $1700. Teachers therefore had to perform these challenges. Win-win I’d say.
To all those who have pulled together to put out fires, welcome and house volunteers, donate items, provide comfort and relief, you inspire us. Thank you for your compassion and synergy.
Last fall I transplanted some perennials. I was curious how they’d do this spring. Sure enough, they’ve survived the winter months. They’ve poked through and found sunlight. I also planted a container garden today: some seeds, some seedlings. There’s something satisfying about gardening: the anticipation of what’s to come, the observable growth, and the plants’ dependence on our care.
The parallel to teaching doesn’t escape me. This profession is satisfying for the same reasons: the anticipation of what our students will become, the incredible progress they make, and their dependence on us as teachers and guides. I feel blessed to be a small part of their journey.
Audrey Hepburn once said, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” After all, the flowers of tomorrow are the seeds of today.