As adults we always seem to walk a fine line between keeping control of and giving freedom to the young in our lives. And because the line is so fine, we inevitably step across it–many times, stumble–creating imbalance, fueling futility as we strive to help them learn and grow under our care. And, as we know, we often find ourselves in a crap-shoot, crossing our fingers, holding our breath as the die come to rest. And that is our world. Sometimes we win. Sometimes we lose. Either way, because we are the adults, we roll the die again, hoping that this time they rest right, that balance is achieved. Recently, I rolled. Recently, I lost…well, I didn’t win.
So, as some know, we are in the midst of presenting our independent learning projects in 219. This is our third go at it, but this time things were different. I challenged the kids–and myself–to step out of our comfort zones, tackling a fixed mindset. Based on the last two successful projects and the growth that the kids demonstrated with their independent endeavors, I expected the trajectory to continue climbing, taking us even higher into the realm of independent success. But as they say, expectation often leads to disappointment, and I feel like the recent projects were a big fat fail. And, as the broad-shouldered adult in the room, I will bear the burden.
Oh, some projects were incredible, but many were terrible, with kids resorting back to the just-get-it-done, complete-the-transaction mindset that has been instilled in them for years, settling back into the familiar routine, now rut, that they find comfortable. And it’s my fault. I got lazy, too loose with my approach, thinking that we had arrived at a point where I could let them go, granting freedom, checking control. Silly Syrie. You cannot simply turn it all over to the universe because you had some early success. There are forces out there at work, and as the die, they don’t always work or land in your favor. And that is the burden we bear, the dilemma we dread as we seek to find that balance for our kids, either as parents or teachers or both.
We must give them freedom. But we must guide them as well. I need to rein them in a bit with this next one. I gave them their heads thinking that they would rush off to even greener pastures, when all they did was stop and eat the same old grass they’ve always eaten, in the same old pasture they’ve always stayed. I guess this time I will have to show them the gate and shoo them through. Indeed, to get to that which is greener, one has to get to the other side, or at least poke one’s head through the wire.
Alas, as it goes. I did. I reflected. And, now, I will do better. Thank goodness for next times. The die will eventually land in our favor, but only if we have the courage to roll them.
Happy Wednesday, all. Mental health day for me. Gonna restore with hours of fresh air.