Okay, so I normally don’t go ‘here’…but I’m about to go ‘there’
I live in Iowa. The northern part of Iowa. It’s cold and icy and snowy and wondrous. If I didn’t like winter (at least a little bit) I would move. Living and enjoying the winter – well, I know it sounds a bit nuts, but I actually LOVE it. Now, I wouldn’t love snow in July…and by April I’m pretty tired of it…but, most of us upper Midwesterners are seasonal folks for a reason.
I love winter – because it helps me appreciate the sounds of songbirds in March, of budding trees in April, of the smell of fresh turned soil in May…
I love summer – because it helps me appreciate the first snowfall and children making snow angels, of calm, full-mooned nights when the snow looks like a bazillion diamonds, of being ‘trapped’ in the house with my children…
I love the seasons because they provide a comparison that is so deeply needed and appreciated. Love wouldn’t be love had you not felt sadness. Sadness wouldn’t be sadness had you not felt happiness…being thankful for all things.
That being said. We’ve had plenty of snow in the past couple of weeks. I’ve missed a couple days of classes, which I hate – because after we miss so many you have to simply ‘cut’ to get to where you need to be.
On one particular day…
It really was awfully dangerous to travel. There was snow, there was ice under the snow, there was wind. I’m at home creating art with my children and I get the ultimate message.
“I’m sorry I won’t be in class today, I had to brave the roads to get home. My kitty had a stroke. She’s old and I just have to be there for her.”
So….she COULD get home on bad road…but NOT get to class. Hmmmmm….
Then…a ‘chronic absentee’ student fell on the snow this week. She sent me a message letting me know she wouldn’t be in class either. “I’m really sore, so I’m going to stay in my room and rest.”
There was nothing broken, nothing sprained, no blood, no bruising (I know because I asked). Hmmmm….
Again, another student. “I stayed with my boyfriend last night off campus, I can’t get back to campus and get you my assignment in time. I’ll just hand it in during the next class.”
I’m glad it’s your choice. Hmmmmm….
Then, a collegue told me a story about a group that didn’t finish a project. The one group member who was ‘finishing’ the final two pieces was broken up with by her boyfriend. She was so distraught that she didn’t finish the project. Nor did she let her group members know that the project was not finished. Nope, not until my collegue asked the group to get up and present. At that point, another group member spoke up, “We’re not ready.”
To my animal lover…I have lost beloved pets. But…this presents sooo many issues for me as a teacher.
To my snow slipper…I sent the following message, “We all have to make choices in life – and you are not setting yourself up for ‘powering’ through life’s adversarial moments.”
To my overnight guest…maybe you should have planned ahead? Maybe you shouldn’t assume the ‘next class’ will be fine (because…really it’s then ‘late’)
All of this made me think A LOT about powering through, about perseverance, about dealing with life. I am an incredibly compassionate person…but this kind of stuff? Well…I just don’t get it.
I just don’t. I really don’t. I shared the stories with my parents. I thought my dad’s head was going to pop off….it’s actually a bit fun to share these student stories with him. He didn’t have the opportunity or means to go to college, so the fact that so many people take it ‘lightly’ makes him…well nearly crazy.
He’s a serious conservative and the ‘shirking’ of responsibility does not set well.
So, as I sit here with a new 6 inch blanket of snow…I wonder what excuses will come into my email tonight and tomorrow. I worry about how these young people will do in the ‘real world’ where people generally don’t care about kitties, boyfriend sleepovers, break-ups, and a ‘non-injury’ fall.