Friday, February 05, 2010

Big Honkin' Learning Curve

You think things should get easier as life goes on b/c you've "been there done that".

Yeah. Right.

I'm finding the curve in my learning curve has deepened and steepened to pitches unheard of. Around every corner I'm finding life is surprising me in some horrifying and interesting ways.

Right now I'm learning how to be strong. My friend and colleague, Todd Carrasco (Columbine HS drumline and Malachi Independent Winter Guard) is chanting Kia Kaha to me. It means "be strong" in some tribal language from New Zeland - I'm going to have to find out for sure on that one.

I'm at a crossroads where giving up and walking away would be the easy and even understandable thing to do. I'm learning success isn't about scores and placements. I'm learning how I handle crisis and situations that call for full blown freaking out will shape how my young padawan learners (AKA guard students) deal with crisis later in life.

I'm learning to think on my feet w/o panicking.

I'm learning to breathe deep and pray, trusting God will work things out - especially b/c He put me in this very place knowing all this very stuff would happen. That means I need to stick and be strong.

I'm learning I love my students fiercely and will fight for them as if they were my own kids. I refuse to let bad decisions made by some take away the very thing they are striving so hard to achieve.

I'm learning foundations go deeper than basic skills. Building trust, developing parental support, involvement and excitement are more valuable than a medal and need to come before the basic skills can be built and achieved. Especially when building a new program.

I'm learning my colleagues are there for me and we are a team. Even folks who direct other units are coming alongside of me in support. They see the potential in my students and the program and want to invest and help us out. Sure, we may compete against each other on the floor, but working together and supporting each other puts a whole new spin and fun in competition. It really does redefine success.

I'm learning tenacity and responsibility are not dead in today's teens. Today's teens have heart, grit and a maturity that is aching to be expressed. They are yearning for a cause or purpose to get behind and fight for. Contrary to a lot of eduspeak/psychobabble, there are kids today willing to sacrifice for a cause. I'm talking about kids being raised in an entitlement culture! These kids are seeing through the emptiness and are shucking it off, begging to shuck it off and learn self-discipline. Wow.

But it takes time, pain and perseverance to find those kids.

Yeah, life in my litterbox kinda hurts right now as I'm scrambling to Make Things Work in a few hours. But I'm seeing great joy in how my team is pulling together to overcome. Regardless of scores and placements.

Go Rebels!