A colleague recently shared her father’s life philosophy: Prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child. I experienced a Crane moment a few days ago that mirrored this wisdom literally! I drive to school weekly with a crew of Ojai students and by last Friday everyone looked tired. To shake off our exhaustion, I said, “Tell me four things you’re grateful for right now. I’ll start.”
Their gratitudes included family, their homes, Ojai, and a new puppy coming soon to join a household. They expressed love for Crane’s teachers and campus. One child shared his wonder at just getting to be alive, while another surprised me by what she picked--despite the long distance we travel daily and weekly, she said she appreciates the commute because it gives her extra time to think through each day before it happens. On the road to Crane, she’s preparing and studying for her present and future. How wisely this delightful girl spends time!
All six kids had one point in common: their gratefulness for being allowed to be well educated in a world where so many children do not have such opportunity. As the sun rose, we crested Casitas Pass and finished sharing at the exact moment light flooded over the mountain peaks, illuminating the lake. I felt such gratitude for this beautiful moment of serendipity, more certain than ever of two richly valuable teaching and learning truths:
- Bumps and blind spots in the road of life occur, impeding our progress if we avoid growth rather than embrace opportunities to learn and change. If we prepare the road for the child but not the child for the road, they’ll tend to passively move through their education and life journey, missing multiple opportunities to develop inner sturdiness and gratitude.
- If we prepare the child for the road, a richer capacity for resiliency and joy is often the powerful outcome for these learners. Regardless of circumstance, if we work with challenges wisely and practice appreciation actively we inspire growth in children’s learning, and in ourselves.
Lower School Learning Specialist