You have your talents, and I have mine. Perhaps you can sing, dance, paint, or conceptualize the next culture-altering social media app. As for me, I like to run, write, and teach math, science, history and literature to my students. And if appreciating the delicious genius that encompasses Double-Stuf Oreos is a talent, then I can do that also.
But I’ve never been considered especially talented at jumping rope.
Every year at school there is an event called “Jump Rope for Heart” where the kids do various aerobic exercises to promote heart health, and to raise funds for the American Heart Association. My first year teaching, I was honestly lucky to string five successful jumps together. Because I don’t have the talent for jumping rope. Or maybe the coordination.
But I have the heart.
So each year I try to improve. I have nowhere to go but up, right? And the kids love it when I join them for the event. So on Monday, when one of my students asked me if I’d join the class to jump rope on Tuesday, I gave the hesitant “sure…”
Because as a teacher I realize I don’t always to be better than my kids to model for them. I just need to have heart. I need to have the willingness to step into my weaknesses. I need to have the mindset that doesn’t say “I can’t”, but instead, “I’m not getting it, yet”. And with that mindset, I get a little better each year. With this heart, I get a little stronger each time.
This year, my goal was 100 consecutive jumps with the rope.
I made it to 97.
So close, and yet so far.
Not to be deterred, I took pics of the kids, rested, cheered students on, and then tried again.
By this time my legs felt like jello. For whatever reason, jumping rope is not my thang. But overcoming obstacles is. Because challenges reveal the heart.
So I got in line again, went up to the parent volunteer to be counted and began anew.
Now having the moms from your classroom volunteer to count your jumps can be a real ego crusher. Especially when their little 3rd or 4th grade child is pushing out 700+ jumps, backwards, forwards, side-straddle, and whatever other fancy moves they come up with while barely breaking a sweat. But putting ego aside, I had an obstacle to tend to.
So I began jumping. My legs were sore by 20. When the mom called out an enthusiastic “FIFTY”, I wanted to call it a day. When she murmured 75, I thought “for the love of everything holy, isn’t it okay if I just stop now?”
But I smiled and kept jumping, until my cadence faltered and my feet finally succumbed to entanglement with the rope.
Smiling, the parent volunteer called out “One Hundred Twenty Two”.
Elation. Jubilation. I felt as if I had just won the World Series.
And in that moment, jumping rope served as a reminder that obstacles and challenges measure our resolve. Our tenacity. Our heart.
I’m blogging every day this month with friends and colleagues from Two Writing Teachers.