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Sunday, March 16, 2014

What If I Fall?

Lessons Learned

Bravery Despite Broken Glasses


The lunch recess bell would ring in ten minutes, summoning the spring-fever-stricken students back to class for a busy afternoon of learning.  After the long, cold, inside winter, however, recess back out on the playground was unanimously greeted with unbridled zeal and, when the bell rang, was ever so reluctantly handed over to the call of the classroom.  Bustling about the room and readying the afternoon tasks, I had not immediately noticed the sad little friend in the doorway.  Well hello! Oh dear, what has happened here? I broke my brand new glasses. I just got them yesterday. I am going to be in trouble.  I fell off the monkey-bars and landed on my face and they broke.  Tears.  Many quiet tears. Hug. Very thankful for no cuts, scratches, bumps, or bruises. Glasses can easily be fixed. I have had my own glasses fixed many times. Accidents happen and when they do we are just glad if no one is hurt.  Why don’t we go outside and you show me where this happened. Okay. Right here; these monkey-bars. I don’t think I will try them again, even though I love the monkey-bars, because I might fall again and falling is scary.  Falling is very scary, but if you want to try again I will hold you and make certain you do not fall. Really? Really. Do you promise? I promise. Up he went.  Slowly he crossed.  Cautiously he pulled his knees up and turned a somersault.  The safety net of the teacher’s arms followed this brave little heart as he boldly looked his fear in the face and modeled the powerful life lesson of getting back up when you fall. We adults love to pad our falls with excuses and blame and well-rationalized reasons why re-attempts are pointless and not meant to be.  We walk away with battered pride, a flippant chuckle, and a whatever wave of the hand, yet in walking away we have walked away from the risky business of a second attempt.  Try again? How embarrassing! What if I fall again? Or again? But what if I don’t fall? What if I do succeed? What if I do accomplish this? What if I can? What if? In reflecting on my life, I do not relish the thought of looking back on very many what ifs. Fear and insecurity leave a mighty pile of what ifs. Having and being a safety net keeps fear and insecurity from paralyzing possibility. As the lunch recess bell rang and we headed toward our classroom for a busy afternoon of learning, I was struck by the deep and significant learning that had just occurred on the playground during lunch recess.