Sunday, August 30, 2009

Together We Can Climb Mountains

This past weekend while I was catching up on my school to-do list, I had the television on watching the Kennedy tributes and memorials that were ongoing. Politics aside, the family has always fascinated me. I've read many biographies and autobiographies of the clan, and continue to read online the news articles about them. The family has had an impact on history, which is a favorite of mine.

At the mass, Ted Kennedy Jr relayed a story about his father that many of us would not know. It was right after Ted Jr. lost his leg to cancer. A great snow had fallen and they wanted to sled, but Ted Jr. kept falling due to the conditions and the instability of his new leg. He looked up at his dad and cried, "I can't do this. I'll never get up that hill." Ted Sr. did what any dad would do. He picked him up, looked him in the eye, and said,"I know you can do this. We're going to climb that hill together, even if it takes all day." And so they did. Ted Sr. holding on to Ted Jr. climbing that hill, father and son. A balancing act of part pushing and part pulling.

What an analogy for teachers! Our students came to us this past week. We're not sure where each one stands on the learning continuum yet. Once we conference, assess, and listen to each student, it will be a balancing act of part pushing and part pulling to help them succeed. We know they can do it and we're going to lift them up, even if it takes all year. But it takes working together, climbing that hill, one step at a time.
Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others let go.
William Feather

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