“Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such striving may seem admirable, but it is the way of foolishness. Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life. Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples and pears. Show them how to cry when pets and people die. Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand. And make the ordinary come alive for them. The extraordinary will take care of itself.” -William Martin
While completing my action research project, I experienced a beautiful, innocent moment. I was getting ready to complete an activity with my class when out of nowhere, a student pointed to the clouds and exclaimed: "Look how fluffy the clouds are!" Pretty simple but that moment really spoke to me.
How often do you or I race throughout life and miss the countless miracles around us each and everyday? Ordinary moments that can speak to us if we give them the chance. I think I'm learning that these are the moments that make life "rich" for me. For example, a few months ago my wife and I spent some time on a walk with our niece, nephew and their parents. We didn't really have a plan for the afternoon, we just decided to see what would happen during our time together.
As we began, we soon came across a small, community garden. The garden was filled with many different kinds of plants and we were even allowed to pick different kinds of berries. After our snack, we came across a small playground with a slide and teeter-totter (I think that's what it's called!) My sister-in-law and I each tried going down the slide. After this, my brother-in-law, his daughter and I had a go on the teeter-totter. We soon decided to keep walking and came across a green field. At this location, we threw a football back and forth with one another. After this, we came to a small fountain. My brother-in-law brought his son to the edge of the fountain and dipped his toes in the cool water (Did he ever enjoy that!) As we moved on, we found wild blackberries growing on the side of the road. We had to be careful picking the berries (watch out for those spiky branches) but eventually had small handfuls that we were able to enjoy. Moving on, we came to a small patch of forest. In this area, we played "hide and seek" with our niece (Don't worry, at least one adult had eyes on her at all times). We eventually made our way back to the apartment and I thought to myself, "What could be better than what I just experienced?" If I'm honest, I don't have an answer for you.
When it comes to education and learning, don't forget to enjoy the simple moments in life that make it so special. Allow students to breathe and have permission to simply be kids. This doesn't mean that intentional teaching doesn't happen. This doesn't mean that we cross our fingers and hope that learning happens because we got lucky. Instead, this means that we can be open to ordinary moments and see how they can create extraordinary memories in our lives.