This past year, my son’s baseball team made it to the World Series. As you might imagine, we were a proud and excited family very much looking forward to the event. As we shared our news with friends and family, everyone gave my son their own individual pearls of baseball wisdom: stay focused, swing early and hard, don’t let any ball go by you and hustle. Yet, without fail, every single person also shared the same sentiment of savoring the moment and my son consistently heard this phrase over and over again from anyone he told about his upcoming event: You will remember this for the rest of your life.
This was such a monumental occasion and I was also convinced that he would remember it for the rest of his life, but hearing those words said to him over and over again made me pause to consider why. Was it was because it was such a major event? Was it because he had yet to experience anything like it? Was it because it was considered a prestigious opportunities that few children get to experience? As I listened to the well-wishers, I couldn’t help but think of all of the other moments in his baseball life that were worth remembering too: the hundreds of hours of practice batting and fielding, the many wins and losses that brought his team to this moment, the many coaching lessons to perfect his skill and the trials and tribulations that brought these boys together as a team. Weren’t those worth remembering too? Weren’t they just as important? I realized that, all too often, we tend to remember the big, culminating events of our lives, but the smaller everyday moment that have brought us where we are often go unremembered. But they shouldn’t.
As I sat in the stands watching my son play in the World Series, I couldn’t help but remember all of the smaller moments that brought him to this event: the hours together in the front yard playing catch, the conversations in the car as we traveled to yet another tournament and the shenanigans in the hotel pool as we enjoyed some down time together as a family. These are the events that are near and dear to my heart and fill my heart with just as much joy as watching him play at the biggest event of his life did.
This same thinking can be applied to our work in the classroom. We might tend to savor the moments when reading and writing feels big and magical; those large moments of accomplishment when our work as readers and writers paid off. But we must remember that it was a series of smaller, culminating events that brought our readers and writers to that very point: the hours spent reading and writing, the skilled instruction in small groups, the shared discussions and problem-solving and yes, all of the approximations along the way. We must cherish those everyday, often overlooked moments as it is in those moments that true readers and writers are born, building habits, routines and dispositions that remain long after a momentous occasion. Take the time to celebrate the small routines, habits and accomplishments in your students’ lives and make learning in your classroom an enjoyable journey that is just as worth remembering as their graduation from it. While my son’s team did not win the World Series, I’m proud to say that he walked away knowing he earned his place there because of his hard work leading up to it, a lesson he will remember for the rest of his life.