The Getaway Car
Out of breath.
I’ve got him now.
He’s in my reach.
Just as I’m about to grab him he jumps into
His getaway car.
The first time my two-year old did this I couldn’t stop laughing. Hopping into his little orange and yellow car actually slowed him down! Silly two-year old. I don’t think he realized that it wasn’t the best form of escape. But it was his form of escape. And in his mind it was his method of getting away. At least he feels he has a way to get away. A way to escape, if just for a few moments.
What about our students who feel trapped? That have no way to escape, physically or mentally. Maybe we can get them a getaway car. Or better yet, maybe we can convince them to stay with us just a little while longer.
His vision, from the constantly passing bars, has grown so weary that it cannot hold anything else. It seems to him there are a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.
As he paces in cramped circles, over and over, the movement of his powerful soft strides is like a ritual dance around a center in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.
Only at times, the curtain of the pupils lifts, quietly–. An image enters in, rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles, plunges into the heart and is gone.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Whatever it is we decide we need to be aware that many of our students feel that they have no other options. And so they settle. And they tolerate. And they endure. And sometimes they implode right before our eyes.
This spring I am giving a presentation titled “How Leaders Can Reduce Stress and Stay Positive” at Common Ground 2014 in Ocean City, Maryland. One of the techniques I am going to discuss during my presentation is the power of having things to look forward to in life. I think it is important that everyone has something to look forward to each day, each week, each month, each year and ultimately in their lifetime.
Along these same lines I have begun asking students that are sent to my office for disciplinary reasons the following questions: What are you looking forward to when you get home or what are you looking forward to this weekend?
The responses, or lack thereof, are telling. Many students do not know how to respond to this question. They have nothing!
How on Earth can we expect to teach students how to read, write, think and behave if they can’t even think of one single event that they are looking forward to in their near future?
We must be that event!
We must be what they look forward to each day so that at the bare minimum they have at least have us! We must be their getaway car, or if not their car at least their driver!