FIGURE IT OUT
Over the holidays, I was skiing with my nephews and daughters, all of whom I taught to ski when they were very little, and was reminded by them about all the fun and challenges we had in those early years. When I think about getting them all bundled in 5 hats, 5 coats, 10 mittens, 5 pairs of snow pants, 10 ski socks and 10 ski boots, I find it miraculous that we were able to snap into 5 pairs of skis and make a day of it. And many fine days of skiing there were! But they also reminded me that sometimes, one or more kiddos would be in a tough spot and my position on the hill was such that I couldn’t get right there to help. They reminded me that my usual response to this predicament was, “Figure it out!” They still remember this today and credit it in part to helping them be the great skiers that they are.
“Figure it out” meant that I expected them to have the knowledge and skills necessary to do just that. I had high expectations for them because I had taught them over and over how to get up. I had shown them how to make sure their skis were below their heads, to put the downhill ski on first, to use a ski pole for balance, etc. “Figure it out” also meant that they needed to stop flailing around, to calm down, and to think their way through the challenge. “Figure it out” also meant that sometimes they needed to ask for help from another skier and that it was ok to do so.
As we laughed about those good times, it dawned on me that I ask you to “figure it out” on a daily basis too. Our profession is challenging and sometimes I know you find yourself in serious predicaments. You are asked to “figure it out” with high expectations because you have the knowledge, skills, and tools you need to address most challenges. Be confident in those, and in most cases, you will be successful. I also know that stress makes each of us flail about a bit and I hope you can find a way to calm yourself as you “figure it out”. I also want you to know that it is ok to ask for help. Sometimes the challenges are just too much and it is ok to ask for support.
I look forward to this second half of the school year as we work as a team to “figure it out” whatever “it” may be. As for my kids, they now just wait for me at the bottom of the mountain as I try to figure out how to keep up.
Take care. Be safe. Stay well.