Friday, June 22, 2012

Learning As A Side Affect

It's finally here, the last day of school - Juneteenth for children! Just a few more hours and we’ll have a change of scenery, a new routine, and a break from the usual. I’ll be able to spend time with loved ones I miss seeing because I had school commitments, childcare issues and other things that dominate my time. It’s summer and I can go out with my friends without worrying about ruining our family’s routine. Summer is more than warm weather and al fresco dining. It’s when we engage in family activities and projects that we couldn't fit into our September – June schedule. Summer rocks!

I’m happy to report that our family received a fitting end to the school year. Our kid learned something beyond computation and spelling. He proved that if we remain open to learning, lessons come from everywhere.

Earlier this week a high school member of the school track team surprised our little guy and presented him with a certificate. The award is for being the only third grader (and youngest team member) to complete the season. What makes this especially memorable is that the young students idolize the older ones. Being on a school-wide team with high schoolers is analgonus to weekend ballers working out with The Dream Team.

The beauty is that the award is for perseverance not achievement. He was acknowledged for commitment and hard work. A key life lesson when most things come easy for you. Even sweeter is that the award is unexpected. He stuck with the team because he was committed not because he wanted to earn a certificate.

The other unintentional lesson was self-taught. Our scholar earned a perfect attendance certificate. The school does not bestow these. The classroom teacher made it because it’s a big deal. This accomplishment isn’t usually on the radar of asthma – allergy kids, hence he didn't begin the year with that goal. A few months ago we realized that it was within reach after noting that he had neither absences nor tardies on his second trimester report card. 

Last weekend with five days left in the school year Mr. Third Grader caught the cooties. Armed with vitamins and liquids he refused to be sidelined. Despite mid-night asthma episodes, every morning he negotiated that he’d go to school and be marked present even if the nurse had to call me to pick him up. My phone never rang. His eyes were on a prize and he would not give in to pesky body irritants.

As we enter the overly anticipated summer break I hope to build upon these lessons and to carry them into the next academic year.

Life is about perseverance, commitment, hard work and never giving up.

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