Saturday, February 18, 2017

When It Doesn't Come Easy...

Yesterday Luke and I were talking as I drove him home from a practice. Liam had a game today (Saturday) and Luke was lamenting the fact that he had to go watch. Liam's team isn't great, they were playing a team that killed them last year, and Luke said it was hard to watch.

That made me pause for a bit to reflect before shooting off my thoughts to Luke. As the older brother, and one that is very driven, Luke has had a lot of success in middle school sports. It remains to be seen if he will continue to find success in sports in high school, or if he will struggle some. While I do not deny that Luke puts forth 110% effort, he hasn't had to experience failure in sports in the way his brother has. I wanted him to reflect a bit.

What I asked Luke was to think about how it's easy to cheer for someone in the lead, to cheer the team that always wins, but what do you do when the reverse happens? 

I asked Luke to think about his little brother... the kid who often came in at the back of the pack in Cross Country while his brother won the race. The kid who asked to play in three park district basketball teams over five months, for the second year in a row, because he didn't make the travel basketball team for his grade again. I asked Luke to realize that Liam hasn't given up, even when it's been hard, even when he didn't win. He didn't need success to motivate him, he went out each time and competed because he wanted to. That's someone I'm interested in cheering on. The person who goes out, knowing it won't be easy, knowing he might not make the team, knowing that he might not win, and tries anyway. That's perseverance.

As we continued our drive home, the van was quiet. Luke was, I'm sure, thinking about how I find the need to have a conversation about everything. I was thinking about how this applies to my classroom. Teaching the kids that "get it", that have great home lives and come to school ready to learn - that's the easy stuff. What about the kids who struggle in school, who have a home life that would make me weep, but show up each day anyway, ready to try again? That is what I'm ready to cheer about in my classroom. 

You've got this, kids. Let's go.