Lance Scranton: The fabric of a successful year
August 21, 2012
I spent some time a couple of weeks ago in Grand Junction with my family taking care of some of the "essential" aspects of the looming first days of school.
Most of you are aware of the joys of roaming around the city looking for shoes, clothes and other necessities that will ensure your children a successful school year.
As I helped my children try on clothes, I began thinking about the various fabrics that make up the styles and options we have for clothing in our country. But what caught my attention were the lessons that clothes can teach us each and every day.
The fabric that makes up our clothes is typically divided into 4 categories: new, old, worn, or discarded.
New clothes are always great because they feel good, look good and we look forward to wearing them. It's like the students who return to school fresh-faced, ready to learn, earn good grades and maybe even change the world along the way. They seem to get along with most everyone and their school year is generally smooth.
Old clothes are often worn because they look good but they are a favorite because of the comfort level. Many students return to school, not particularly motivated, but school offers some good times and the various clubs, activities and sports more than make up for the classroom experiences.
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School is a comfortable place to be, the year is generally without incident, and they are likely to learn something along the way.
Worn clothes are generally put on as a last resort and are frayed with holes in them because they have been "worn" too long or were damaged while playing. A few students enter our schools and feel like they have been used up or labeled by the teachers and administrators that have labeled them.
These students are tattered, going to school because they are forced and hoping they aren't picked on or bullied by the students who have also branded them. Their school year finds them walking down the hallway, trying to stay out of trouble, be invisible, and wishing they could be somewhere else.
Finally, the discarded clothes usually find their way to the goodwill store or the dumpster. Too many children enter the halls of public education and believe that teachers and administrators have given up on them and are looking for a reason to kick them out of class or have them suspended from school entirely.
Their attitude reflects years of being "placed" somewhere away from the new, old, or worn fabrics. School is extremely difficult and if they make it past Thanksgiving it will be a miracle.
The lesson of the fabrics is that we must try our best as teachers, administrators, parents and community members to stitch together a fantastic year, no matter the condition of the clothes.