I understand it.
Three words every teacher, coach, or parent loves to hear. Making the connection from what is taught to what is understood to what is practiced can be the most challenging part of raising young people.
When athletes make the connection some spectacular things happen on the competitive surface.
Inevitably a coach whose players buy in to the system and understand the strategy begin to do things as a team that were previously impossible. Talent is a measure of success but infusing talent with team leads to incredible results.
We all have memories of the season, or game, or practice when we were all in the zone and the connection was solid.
When students get it, there can be an amazing transformation in the way they think. Students in my senior English class exposed to Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, and Seneca for the first time find it an intellectually grounding experience.
But as they begin to understand the literature concepts taught by some of our philosophical forefathers, there’s a flip of the switch. Most begin to realize life, liberty, and pursuing happiness are not exclusively American inventions in thought or attitude.
The mental wiring necessary to make the connection between Western philosophy and American culture can be complicated but the cave is never thought of as just darkness after studying Plato, and Aristotle’s ethic of pursuing happiness by practicing virtues jolts some students, while Seneca’s thoughts on achieving happiness through adjusted expectations charges a few students with questions.
I explain that Plato, Seneca, Aristotle, and Socrates were living in times fraught with many of the same issues we face today and they wrote about each in a culturally relevant way because there was need to explain the concepts so that people could make a connection.
From understanding to practicing to living out positive viewpoints and amped-up attitudes takes practice and dedication.
Teachers and administrators got some wires crossed when so many parents and community members expressed an organized desire to make themselves available to help our students and athletes in whatever way possible.
Hopefully we all now realize that having people in our schools other than just students and teachers will lead to some great improvements in our children’s educational experience, including their academic and athletic success.
The connection made between a school and the community can be powerful. If the energy in the connection is strong, and the current is steady, our understanding of success can bring with it a flux of cooperation and civic pride.
Making a connection to the source allows us to thrive but if short-circuited we miss out on the current of positive energy that makes us proud to be Moffat County.
Think of our local power plant or coalmines without workers, our city without public and private services, our community boards without members, churches without a congregation, or our schools without students.
Get plugged in and make a positive connection for our community.
Lance Scranton is a Moffat County High School teacher and coach. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.