365 Days of Earrings

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lessons on the Track

No school today, so that our younger students could watch their older siblings, friends, and mentors compete in the annual Track Meet against other local independent schools. For my own children in years gone by, this day was hugely important. They worked hard in the weeks before the meet(only 3 weeks, but intense ones of running and jumping and throwing). They arrived early, cheered for friends, ran their races, jumped their jumps, and threw their throws, taking time in between to cheer for their friends. I spent the day doling out sunblock and water, encouragement and solace. They pretty much always came home with ribbons: blue and red, mostly, from distance running, mostly. 

Today I just showed up for the relays at the end of the day. This morning I discovered once again how much a person can accomplish on a day off in the middle of the week: DMV, oil change, banking, groceries, vacuuming, laundry. Oh, and then I polished off another batch of those narrative reports that I had to write before tomorrow. 

I dressed in aqua, and wore earrings made of glass beads decorated with tiny cowrie shells, dyed aqua. When I arrived at the Track Meet, the 9-10 girls were taking their marks. The lead-off runner was Cady, whose sister Carley gave me these earrings 4 years ago. The lead Cady set never wavered. Four races later, Carley strode onto the track to run the lead-off leg. She, too, set a pace that led to a winning race.

Carley probably has no memory of giving me those earrings; her mother told me that she insisted I would love them: "She loves wacky earrings! Especially ones made with stuff from nature! She wears them all the time!"

I was glad that I chose them today, and that I got to see Carley and Cady run and win. They are girls who know how to work hard, build their skills, and focus on their goals.

Physical Education, recess, and the arts are disappearing from our schools so that time can be devoted to reading, writing, and arithmetic. How will we motivate our children to learn those life skills?