Cap or Conduit?



Each day in March, I’m participating in the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. You can visit their site here. This is my slice for Day 22.


*Note: To generate new writing ideas and exercise our creativity, our class will sometimes try the “lifting a line” strategy. We find a line from a journal, book, magazine or song, and use it as a springboard for an entirely new piece of work. Today, I’m borrowing (with permission), a line found on a blog post by my friend Maggie Bolado.

“Being fearless changes the direction immediately.” 

The choice to be fearless allows you to dive into deep waters. It allows you to take a leap of faith. It allows you to experience exhilaration. 

I remember when my oldest daughter was first experimenting with the high-dive at the park district pool. It was the reward for the students at the end of each swimming lesson. Dozens of kids in a line, climbing up the ladder and waiting for the next person to jump. Shouts of joy mixed with fear as they took the leap of faith into the water that was 12ft below. They would rush out of the water to repeat this parade of climbing ladder and running off the board, as many times as they could before class was over.

My daughter had made the trek before. She had walked through the line. She had climbed up the ladder. She had walked the plank, and taken the leap. But more often than not, she would usually turn around, and walk back down the ladder. Since it was a narrow ladder, every kid in the line behind her, had to turn around and go back down the ladder, because my daughter had gotten cold feet.

The groans and the eye rolling would sweep through the crowd, while I cringed.

Instead of the line flowing behind her, she plugged it up. Instead of being a conduit that provided access, she was a cap that prevented progress.

Of course, she was young, and just learning how to wrestle with fears. She was just beginning to learn how to deal with that inner critic that tries to dissuade you from seizing opportunities that are cloaked within challenges. She was a relative newbie to the swim class, and the diving board.

Newbies are supposed to fly under the radar. They are supposed to learn from the veterans around them, who are battle-tested, and seasoned with wisdom. Nobody expects newbies to spearhead the charge into the deep. Let the newbies get accustomed to the shallow end. Let them dip their toe in the water, and get in line behind the veterans. Because veterans have wisdom. Veterans have experience. Veterans know better.

Thank goodness that newbies sometimes don’t know their place. Thank goodness for newbies who understand that challenges are often treasure chests with pearls waiting to be unveiled. Thank goodness for newbies who want to take a leap into the deep waters.

Maggie Bolado was a new teacher, in a new district when she came across a challenge that Verizon had posted on Twitter. They were awarding $20,000 to schools that could create an app to assist someone and solve real world challenges in their community. 

And she had a choice. Cap or conduit? Take a leap, or go back down the ladder? Stay under the radar, or spearhead the charge? Forward into uncertainty, or let others lead the way?

Each of us face similar moments. We get presented with challenges that conceal jewels. We get asked to take a leap, or stand still in the line. We can charge into the deep, or wade in the shallow.

My oldest daughter eventually learned that lesson, and has fearlessly charged into several countries around the world on various mission excursions. She is on an exhilarating path.

Maggie led her team of 6th graders to the White House, where they were honored for their fearless leap of faith. Her STEM team created an app called “Hello Navi” to assist a visually-impaired classmate navigate his way around the campus.

Maggie’s takeaway from the adventure?

“Being fearless changes the direction immediately.  Being fearless sees an impact opportunity and seizes it.  We are all better professionals, better people – because of dreamers.”

Maggie never considered the cap. Though she was a new teacher, in a new district, she chose to be fearless. She chose to dive into uncertainty. She chose to be fearless, and changed the direction of her students. She chose to be a conduit, providing an opportunity to seize their dreams.

Learn about Maggie Bolado’s amazing STEM team accomplishment here.

@ResacaGators #proudteacher

13 thoughts on “Cap or Conduit?

  1. The diving board analogy reminds me of Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine. Have you read it? It’s wonderful! We need warriors like Maggie to take on challenges and opportunities – to be the conduits of the future. I’m so glad your daughter took the plunge and embraced her own fearlessness!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was just fortunate that Maggie allowed me to lift a few inspiring lines from her blog post. Her story, and her character, amazes and inspires me to be a fearless conduit for my students.


  2. Love this post. The image of your little girl making the whole line go down for her is so true, and funny, and painful, and understandable. Every parent can relate.
    I am going to remember your metaphor of being a cap or a conduit. Especially applicable to teachers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I tweeted this line, “Thank goodness for newbies who understand that challenges are often treasure chests with pearls waiting to be unveiled.” with a little editing for the character number to my friend who jumped into the deep end of the SOLC. She is bayou warrior which totally expresses her fearlessness.
    I love hearing about your daughter’s challenge and how she overcame it. That high dive is actually an analogy I use in a verse novel I am working on. Thanks for your continues inspiration!

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  4. I love the word fearless. So glad that Maggie didn’t fly under the radar. I will consider more the idea of cap vs conduit. I hope to be more of a conduit.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a great post and a moving tribute to your friend. I love the line “opportunities that are cloaked within challenges.” I strive to push myself out of my comfort zone but suspect I tend toward cap rather than conduit. An uncomfortable thought. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. I love the line “She was just beginning to learn how to deal with that inner critic that tries to dissuade you from seizing opportunities that are cloaked within challenges.” It’s so hard to ignore that inner critic. It’s our worst enemy!

    How exciting that her leap of faith, her go and get it attitude got them to the White House!

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