October 10, 2012

Sometimes You Have To Blow It Off

A good place to blow it off and have a nap
When I was teaching I liked to tell my classes that we were all students, and we were all teachers. It was a two way street, and undoubtedly, by the end of the year we would all be a bit smarter.

Kids being kids, many of their lessons had to do with the simple things in life, like having fun.

At the end of my last year, my class went to a local water park for the day to celebrate our hard work together. While their work was mostly done, mine was far from over.

I brought year end tests to mark at pool side, and settled in to work while other lifeguards watched my charges. Occasionally I paused to see the kids laughing, screaming, and having fun, released from the demands and pressures of the school year.

Every once in a while kids would drop by the table I was at and take a break from the water slides.

One of those students was Lyndsay. "Hey, what are you doing Mr. Koep?" she asked with a perplexed look on her face.

"I'm marking the class's year end tests so I can do final report cards," I answered.

"Oh, Mr. Koep," she said, slowly shaking her head. "You should be having fun with us."

"But all this work..." I replied, while indicating the piles of paper covering the table in front of me.

"There is a time for work," Lyndsay noted, "but sometimes you have to blow it off. And now is one of those times."

There it was - wise words spoken by one of my 12 year old tutors taking advantage of a teachable moment. How could I argue? She was right.

I packed up all my work and banished it to the dark depths of my backpack, never to be seen again. Well, not until later that evening anyway.

Sleeping in the grass
I spent the rest of that memorable day celebrating an awesome year with my 30 fellow teachers/students. We may have set new speed records on some of the larger slides, and if not, we certainly set records for the amount of fun and camaraderie that we shared.

Lyndsay's lesson was ten years ago, and I thought of it again today while out for a hike in a local park. While traversing a large open field of tall grass, I took the opportunity to blow it all off for a few moments of spontaneous, blissful stoppage.

I stopped walking. I squatted in the grass. I felt the ground beneath me. I sat down. It felt good, so I laid right out on my back. I looked up at Linda who was sitting next to me, and up further into the depths of the blue cloudless sky.

I fell asleep.

Lyndsay, you were so right. Sometimes you have to blow it off.

1 comment:

  1. Such wise words. I'm feeling that way today, just have to let go and blow it off. It does the soul good.

    This reminds me of something I heard when my daughter was very young. They were words I lived by:

    “The work will wait while you show the child the rainbow, but the rainbow won’t wait while you finish the work.”

    – Patricia Clifford

    Thanks Gregg and Linda for blogging and steadily reminding me what's important. Love you guys!


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