I walked by the front door, past my five-year-old whose nose was pressed against the glass. I stopped to get a glimpse of what the kid was looking at. I pressed my own nose against the glass. Not much seemed to be going on out there. A care drove by. A dog did his business on our lawn. One of those intense winter joggers trotted past in a full body Gortex suite, facemask and all. Other than that, nothing caught my eye. Still, there we stood, two guys, noses pressed to the glass, staring at something incredibly exciting. I just didn’t know what it was.
What I did know was that the snow had begun to fall. Flashbacks of last winter’s onslaught came rushing into my mind. I had visions of cars and trucks strewn about the roads. I had intense pangs of phantom soreness in my shoulders, my neck, and my lower back in remembrance of the inordinate amount of shoveling and ice scraping I was forced to engage in. My toes went numb thinking about cold wet cloths and icicles hanging from my moustache and beard.
Brrrrr! I was fully entrenching in this relatively off-putting recollection when I remembered that we were looking at something exciting. I turned to the kid and whispered, “What are we looking at, Bud?” As if I was crazy to not know, and with a shutter of energized enthusiasm he replied, “Daddy…it’s snowing!”
Wow, what a drip! Even though the snow had become somewhat of a killjoy for the old man, how could I have forgotten the about the magic it represents to kids? The stuff is like gold when you’re five. Forts and snowball fights, snow men and snow angels, gearing up to the brink of immobility for sledding or simply rolling around in the yard. It was snowing! Who cares about my problems? This was a wondrous day and I should have been jumping with joy! I feigned excitement, and in doing so, it actually came to me. I became genuinely excited.
All I had to do was say, “Yay…it’s snowing!” to realize that I meant it. All I had to think about was the fact that this kid deserves to be a kid, and that he deserves to have a dad who couldn’t be more excited about every minute of his childhood. All I need to do now is continue to remember that kids get really excited about lots of stuff, and that kid excitement is a great motivator for engagement, learning, and positive progress.
Lots of things are incredible to people who’ve only experienced them a few times, or who are experiencing them for the first time. Kids deserve adults who know how to truly honor, encourage, support, and participate in the excitement of incredible things! As a parent and an educator, it is absolutely a part of my responsibility to make sure that I celebrate any and all of the exciting stuff about life with my own children and with all of the students that I serve. Heck, if I can get excited about snow again, maybe I can get excited about the rest of it to. And you know what, when I listen and learn well enough to understating what the kids in my life get excited about, I find that I get to rejoin them in being excited, engaged, and on the path to learning and positive progress myself!
Live. Learn. Lead.
Dream Big. Work Hard. Be Well.