Decisions, Homeschooling, Parenting

Showing Up

Races are unpredictable. Even after consistent training, sometimes, a runner’s best long-run strategy is dropping out. (See here) Other times, their best strategy is simply showing up.

2021 Colorado Half-Marathon Start Line

Whether I was running the parenting marathon or the homeschooling marathon or the care-giving marathon, there were days when showing up at the start line was the best I could do.

Elite runner Des Linden made history at the 2018 Boston Marathon by showing up—and continuing to show up—mile after mile. Des told another American runner that although she had started, she would probably drop out. It wasn’t her day. Des offered to block the wind—or anything else—to help Shalane Flanagan win.

The icy weather was epic. Given the forecast, race organizers increased their medical assistance along the route. For 26.2 miles, Des showed up until she broke the tape at the finish line—the first American to win the women’s Boston Marathon in 33 years.

I might not have broken a race tape on the days I simply showed up, but I like to think I made a difference.

Which is the best strategy for your current race? Showing up or dropping out?

Decisions, Homeschooling, Parenting

Thinking About Dropping Out?

Failing at something doesn’t make one a failure. It means you are learning.

Molly Siedel 2020 Olympic Bronze Medalist

September, October, and November are busy months for distance runners, including my husband. Not only does he run—while I wait at the finish line—but he also follows the stories of elite runners, which means I follow their stories.

Finish Line Reunion

If we can’t watch a race, we eagerly await its results. Sometimes, the results are disappointing and bring questions.

Why didn’t Galen Rupp finish the 2018 Boston Marathon?

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish … due to having problems breathing and hypothermia … I am hopeful to race again.

Galen Rupp statement

Rupp won the 2018 Prague Marathon a month later.

Why didn’t Molly Seidel finish the 2022 Boston Marathon?

I gave it my all and it wasn’t good enough…. (mile) 16 it was clear there was no way I could keep running without really injuring myself … I can’t wait to eventually finish this dream.

Molly Seidel Instagram

Given the commitment and training that distance running requires, I admire runners who accept unforeseen events, and then, press on.

Overwhelmed? Injured? Dropping out to race another day?

Art, Book Recommendations

I See. I Think. I Wonder.

During one set of art classes, I hung a print of The Duck Pond by Claude Monet, and employed a method I learned from Teaching Critical Thinking Through Art. That day, I chose the See-Think-Wonder routine. *

“I see”—which is observation—yielded expected answers. “I think”—which is interpretation—yielded less predictable responses. However, I learned the most about my six-to eleven-year-olds from “I wonder.”

I wonder if the lady would invite me into her house for toast.

I hadn’t noticed the tiny woman by the door

I wonder if the ducks are arriving or leaving.

I thought the ducks were hanging out.

I wonder if there is always that much water.

I had considered the water level unchangeable.

I wonder if the ducks get along.

Hmm …

Am I negligent if I mainly experience art with my students? If I don’t focus on information? I hope not because I teach art appreciation for the love of both my students and the subject. I want children to have accessibility to art. I want their enjoyment of art to take precedence over knowledge.

What do you see, think, and wonder?

*For more information see Making Thinking Visible by Ritchhart, Church, and Morrison.

Book Recommendations, Homeschooling, Parenting

What Makes You Say That?

Until I took the course Teaching Critical Thinking Through Art,* I asked my students “Why?” Afterwards, l changed my question to “What makes you say that?” and I received more responses.

Children gave ready answers to “What makes you say that?” instead of hesitating over “Why?”

“There has been a fire,” one student stated after examining a print of Romare Bearden’s The Piano Lesson.

“What makes you say that?”

She pointed to something I had not noticed—black spots on the green wall.

What makes students respond more powerfully to “What makes you say that?” compared to the simpler “Why?”

Does the first imply the student has evidence to present? Does the latter imply a need to defend? I decided I prefer to be asked, “What makes you say that?” because it implies a willingness to listen.

For more information about this question, see chapter six in Making Thinking Visible by Ritchhart, Church, and Morrison.

Which is your preference? “Why?” Or “What makes you say that?

*See here.

Decisions, Family, Friendship

I Only Need One

I’d been wronged. Or misunderstood. I was frustrated with someone and wanted advice with an opportunity to complain as a side dish. In response, I sought solace among people I trusted.

However, when everything was resolved, we couldn’t move on in a satisfactory way. Why? I had given people information that they shouldn’t have. Therefore, some confidants were not willing or ready to forgive the offender.  

At times, we need Someone to understand our plight. Along the way, I learned that Someone was not the members of my Bible study. Someone was not the members of my book club. Someone was not my friends. Someone was not my neighbors. Someone was not my extended family. Someone was One.

During one hurtful situation, my friend Jacqueline summarized this principle with a quote her mother taught her: Least said, soonest mended.

I learned to pick carefully—not a person who would wallow with me—but someone with perspective and wisdom about the situation I faced.

Like a surgeon, friends cut you in order to heal you. 

Reverend Tim Keller, Pastor and Author

Have you been blessed with a trusted One?