All Heart

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.

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13 thoughts on “All Heart

  1. When she murmured 75, I thought “for the love of everything holy, isn’t it okay if I just stop now?” Oh my…How I loved this line. I feel your pain. I love the title of this piece “All Heart”. You gave it your all…you overcame an obstacle.

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  2. “obstacles and challenges measure our resolve. Our tenacity. Our heart. ” – Love this quote and your slice. I ran “Jump Rope” for several years at our school – but never achieved (or tried!) that many jumps. Congratulations!

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  3. Way to “Jump to it!” I was right there with you, especially picturing the potentially ego crushing mom volunteer jump counters. And I could totally picture the little kiddos “pushing out 700+ jumps, backwards, forwards, side-straddle, and whatever other fancy moves they come up with WHILE BARELY BREAKING A SWEAT!”

    How do they do that?!?

    Loved this peppy post!

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  4. I love everything about this post! You do indeed have heart, and it shows in everything you write. I especially appreciate the lesson you gleaned from this experience, that ” obstacles and challenges measure our resolve. Our tenacity. Our heart.” When confronted with obstacles and challenges it is all too easy to lose sight of that. Thank you for the reminder.

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    • Thanks Amanda! I’m especially blessed to have writers like you who remind me to claim my voice and share it. Your writing is such a genuine gift to all of us who are fortunate to reflect on it.

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  5. Oh my!! You made 120 jumps? That’s amazing. If you can do that, you can do anything. I love how you described all your thoughts as you reached each milestone. Good for you. Hopefully, you sleep VERY well tonight.

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  6. Hurray! Cheering to you for taking the challenge, not giving up, and having the right mindset. I like how you say that it is not about the talent, it is about the heart. You have a great heart. I enjoyed your voice in this piece, smiled and nodded while reading it.

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