There is 14 mile stretch between Bastrop and Buescher State Parks in Texas called the Lost Pines. For the first time in 2 years I hammered out 25 miles on my bike without a riding buddy.
For 12 miles I saw three cars, two hikers, and climbed every hill without any energy source to tap, save my own. I cursed every feel-good motivational speaker I heard in my life, as their condescending tapes played reels in my head.
But on the (12 freaking miles) back to my car, something shifted. Legs began to crank in rhythm with the mind, so I put away my iPod and rode to natural sonatas instead. Oh hello, Self. There you are. I missed you…
My zone began at mile 13. Had I been in a school, the teacher would have announced dismissal just as I crested the sixth. Sound frustrating? Ask a child. It is their daily reality.
Another reality is that humans crave time to to face themselves. They need, (not want)… need time and space to get on the fringe of their comfort zone and play there for awhile. This is where true learning happens. This is where genuine growth blossoms.
I’m sorry boys and girls. Too much freedom is bad for kids. Without structure I’m sorry to say… you will become complacent and lazy. We compartmentalize learning for your own good. Don’t be sad. I’ll see you next week for 45 minutes.
Over Christmas break a friend of mine who teaches undergrads as part of her doctoral program, shared a story about a student who turned in a paper with cut and paste wikipedia hyperlinks still underlined in blue ink throughout. In a moment of slyness, my friend sent an email out to the class:
“I know some of you cheated, and if you come forward now I won’t give you a zero.”
This is how she caught quite a few more.
About this time adults begin calling young people lazy. Unmotivated. Spoiled. And to be honest, adults aren’t being unfair. Many, many students prove them right.
I wish I could bring a whole society into my elementary art room. I want them to meet a class of five year olds. I want them to witness the astounding absence of boredom, cheating, and laziness.
I want this society to have the same students the following year in First grade as I do. Then Second grade. Third. Fourth. I want them to have six hundred children for five years and watch as each of them go through identical changes.
Then I wish these adults could move into a high school position. I wish they could meet a 15 year old that they had ten years prior in Kindergarten.
‘What happened to you?’
What happened to me?
Nothing happened. I just don’t give a shit ok?
I don’t blame the kiddos, and neither should you.
If someone forced me to dismount after 30 minutes on my bike, and go take notes on proper cadence from a teacher in the woods… I would be frustrated. If after riding once more, I started to get blood flowing in my muscles, only to be forced off my bike fifteen minutes later, so I might turn in those notes for a grade and line up for lunch time… I would start to feel unmotivated to bike at all.
And if this happened every single time I got on my bike…
I suspect I would stop giving a shit.