days of yore

Y’all… I’m a little nervous. A parent and friend emailed a few months ago, which led to a lunch date and a conversation about her son’s 6th grade class. They aren’t getting along. At all. They went on a team-building experience at the beginning of school and it failed miserably. She asked if I’d be willing to come in and try again. Whoa.

First of all, major compliment. Thank you. Second of all, holy virginia.

I actually went to school for this. I graduated from Texas A&M University (the school with the bonfire) in 1999 with a degree in Outdoor Education. This can mean different things at different schools… at my school, it was heavily Ropes Course oriented. Taking groups of people and leading them into relationships. Unpacking personalities. Conquering height and personal space fears. Working with groups of 50 year-old teachers who hate their new principal. Working with 7th graders who had three fellow students die in a bus accident. Working with the swim team from a local college. Working with in-coming freshman to get them off to a good start. The possibilities and purposes and variations are endless.

So, for the past 10 years, I’ve run ropes. High ropes (up in the trees) and low ropes (down on the ground). It’s what I do. I talk. I lead. I facilitate. I joke. I guide. I play.

Since having Rylie, I’ve stayed at home. I’m kind of out of the outdoor education loop these days. I’m a mom, for pete’s sake. I rarely climb trees anymore. The harness has begun to accentuate unwanted areas of my motherly frame. Please notice how everyone is looking at my dog Abe (off-camera) and NOT AT ME TEACHING THEM ABOUT KNOTS. I’m sure Abe was doing something moderately inappropriate and hilarious. I’m not picking my nose, btw. I’m thinking.

Most of these kids have done this kind of thing before. Every mall has a climbing tower now. Every Craig’s Cruisers has a ropes course. These kids come to me having already played these games, been there, done that. It’s not the novelty it was 10 years ago. I have to make it different. I have to make it relevant. And, I have to be cool. These are 6th-graders, after all. It’s a tough crowd. So, I’m gonna dust off my books and pull out some stuff they’ve *hopefully* never seen before. Tomorrow, I’m gonna try to help them make their class work better together. I shall try… and maybe guide them towards better results than the first time.

What I wonder…
is what did you want to be?
or what did you go to school for?
or what are you now?
or all of the above.


About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

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