Saturday, November 24, 2012

Creating the Most Unlikely of Risk Takers In the Most Unlikely of Places

"What other time will you get the opportunity to do something like that?"
I love to create risk takers out of my students. In my classroom I feel successful when I can get all of them to feel uninhibited. If you want to dance in my class, you do, you may and you will. If you want to sing, you do, you may and you will. If you want to sit and watch others do this...well you better rethink that decision because I'm gonna make you get up and boogie somehow! I thought I only claimed victims  took advantage of teachable moments in my classroom, but this past week I realized I do it everywhere and age is not a factor!
This is what happened...

Big Girl, Little Girl and I had to go purchase the ingredients for our annual Thanksgiving Sustenance Ritual.
(...we got the yummers for the Turkey Fest!)
Well, in retrospect I knew something was going to happen in the store. While in the produce section I caught sight of an elderly woman shopping with her adult son. I overheard them ticking off their shopping list only their adventure wasn't as...ahem... interesting as mine.
(Mom can we go through the candy bins?...Mom she's touching me...Mom, Mom, Mooooom..kersplat...silence...Mooooom, she did it!)
 I thought ,how sweet and patient this grown man was being with his Momma and I hoped my girls would be as patient with me when the time came.
(Truth be told, I only caught him roll his eyes once behind her back when she couldn't make up her mind if she wanted brussels sprouts or green beans! I giggled.)
They, like I, followed the stream of shoppers to each section. Then we came to the turkeys! Little Girl expressed that we needed to thank the turkey in our prayers for feeding us and Big Girl told us how many early Native American's did not waste a single part of an animal they had hunted.
(I had a quick vision of glitterfied bone jewelry created by Glitterific Girl.
*Note to self: Hide the turkey bones. I know. I'm denying her her heritage and holding back her creativity. It must be in her DNA to use every part of...everything... and bedazzle it!)
We chose our perfect turkey and prepared to leave. Then I noticed the elderly lady standing next to me and at the same time two employees were preparing to restock the rapidly depleteing supply of glorious fowl. Before them stood boxes of turkeys. They began to slowly and methodically open each box and gingerly load the freezer with the gobblers.
Then I saw the "look" in their eyes and I knew what was going to happen! 
(Great White Hunter is a "big boy" too so I've seen that look plenty of times...It said let's play!)
"Boys" being "boys" they started to race! The sights and sounds caught everyone's attention. Especially mine and the lady next to me. She looked at me. I looked at her and we both giggled.
 Slice! Rip! Heave! Boom! Slice! Rip! Heave! Boom!
The sight was remarkable. These boys were heaving at least 100lbs with seemingly no effort! She giggled and said we should clap for them. Then, she giggled again, covered her mouth and exclaimed, "Do you think we should?" Well, that's all she had to ask, and I said, "Why yes. Yes we should! We should thank them for the show. They work hard and really what other time than during the holidays will you see a sight like that?" We clapped and giggled and the "boys" smiled and nodded! This is what struck me.
 With her movements I saw the shy, self-conscious little girl covering her mouth afraid to laugh too loudly at some kind of random silliness. I saw the little girl who has been told that she shouldn't attract attention to herself. I am Thankful to have had the opportunity to allow her to take a risk and giggle at life with me!
The Lesson
Teachable moments can happen anywhere, anytime, anyplace and your students are ageless. Creating safe places for people to express themselves is limitless!
So, whattaya waiting for? I'm shy and I did this!


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