As soon as he left the ground, I saw the reaction on his face.
Equal parts excitement and fear.
Into the small tree he went. Climbing from branch to branch. Daring to move from the secure place he currently stood.
He turned to me and asked, “Dad, will you climb with me?”
But the tree wouldn’t hold us both. So I could be close by, but I couldn’t be right beside him.
It made me think of two experiences we have with students.
In the first, the thing that will help our students learn to take risks is our willingness to walk right beside them, risk in the same way they are. Maybe that’s writing in front of them, choosing practice problem you’ve not worked before so you can show students what working through the process looks like the first time, or doing experiments that truly ask new questions.
Submitting ourselves to the same risks we ask of our students situates us all as learners. That’s a small thing that ends up being a big deal.
But, as much as we can support them by learning alongside them, at some point, our students have to go out where we can’t protect them.
As Graham moved from branch to branch, I could tell he wanted me with him as much for the companionship as for the safety. But where he was wouldn’t support us both.
That scares me, but look at the fun that he had!
Let’s get our students ready to explore past the reach of our safety nets and teach them to embrace new challenges with excitement.