Often we are in situation that call us to make a choice or a decision and require us to act. This “act or action”, can move us forward to achieve goals, overcome barriers, push past limits or create some type of change. In my personal life, my two small children are involved in extracurricular activities. My wife and I chose the activities for the sole purpose of socialization, fine motor skills and coordination. Another reason for getting them involved in activities is to give their parents a break! I appreciate the break…I really do. While they are entrenched in their sport or activity, I am faced with navigating my involvement in their journey. My oldest quickly become involved in swimming and then added soccer. Fast forward two years, my now four year old is completely solo. Ha can swim on his own and recently achieved the next level up to his advancement in the backstroke and freestyle. Then, he found his stride in soccer with being a pretty good scorer. While I am proud and full of warm dad moments, I realize that his growth is due to his teachers and the time invested by both of my sons and their teachers. My son has had incredible swim coaches and amazing soccer instructors. They all jumped in and pushed my boys to be better while settling the anxiety of his parents. The teachers gave of themselves, their time and their energy, to build stronger and more thoughtful swimmers and soccer players. They got in the game of teaching and learning, and produced results, without my kids knowing what was happening to them.
In schools, our greatest chance to help students become better and reach higher heights is by “getting in the game.” Being active, involved and connected to young people is the only way to enjoy the journey of their maturation. Occasionally, we get discouraged because of the sad stories we hear or see our investment wasted on poor choices. By sitting on the sideline, our classrooms and schools will lose out on the best experiences and the deepest connections with our students. I challenge you to move. I challenge you to get in the game and stay on the field of mentorship. Push yourself to move away from the edges of the playing field and transition into active play. Move toward deeper connections and fostering long lasting relationships. I implore you to approach the field of play with your head held high knowing that your teams (schools) success depends on the players with the least amount of skills. This work of getting in the game, will require us to get sweaty, wrestle with uncertainty, become bruised and doubt the game plan. “Get in the game” and show your team what they are made of and they will be better for it because you are their teacher. They need you in the game.