Tuesday, April 21, 2009

things i've learned

in the past week or so, i mean...

--robotics is a big deal in other countries. it is also a big deal in some places in the united states. it is hard to inspire a love of science and technology when you are focused on winning trophies. i think this may have been a problem for our team. when you let kids lead in their explorations of science and technology, their enthusiasm is authentic. fake enthusiasm does not carry you far. it may get you to internationals, but probably not too far into internationals.

--you do not have to win to learn a lot. we learned a lot. and i think we had a lot of fun, too. the kids worked a lot, though. which was a natural consequence. they were pretty tired of robotics by the end of the season and their work wasn't very focused at practices. so when they got to the festival and saw what the other teams had going, there was some mad scrambling to get their robot together. i am still not sure why the robot fell apart so badly at the end there...technology isn't my thing.

--a natural part of levels of competition is going out in your little pond and finding just how good a fish you are at something. and your pond may decide to send you to the next big pond to compete there. but you will find some fish who are pretty good in their ponds, too, and see how you do. should you actually make it to the ocean, be guaranteed you will find some really awesome fish. and even if you find out you are the biggest fish there, it will still be very inspiring to spend time with people who are passionate about and love what they do. don't be too sad if you aren't the best fish in the ocean at something...there are a lot of fish out there...the cool thing about being the best is that it's hard and rare and there are only a few. but when you do what you love and feel good about what you do, it's just fun hanging out.

--the haitian team was across the way from us. the singapore team was on one side of us. denmark was on the other. twenty-seven countries were present at the festival. it was amazing. i felt honored to be invited and able to take our guys there. it is awesome to share space and time with people from so far and wide.

--sometimes, if you are having a hard time processing something or feeling a little stuck, you can share it with those you love and who love you, and they will be so overwhelmingly supportive and positive that you can borrow a little of that and they don't even mind. we're expecting our fifth child in november.

--when you're trying to be great at something, or excellent if that's what the rubric calls it, you can't skip fair and good...you end up missing things and the judges can tell. it's like trying to be sixteen without being ten or fourteen....it just doesn't work right and you look kind of goofy.

--everyone has their lessons. to try to tell someone else what they should learn is kind of arrogant. and robs you of learning your own. and for some reason, focusing on what others should learn leaves you feeling negative, while focusing on the things you've learned usually empowers you. i don't really know why this works this way...it's just how it seems to be and i'm glad to learn it.

--kids should get to make their own stories. at least, if you expect them to tell their stories, it should be the one they chose. trying to tie them into a legacy they don't feel connected to just gives them something to memorize that doesn't mean much to them. this ties into that authenticity thing i was talking about earlier...and also the leading their own explorations. kids can do absolutely crazy things sometimes and this is why we are here to guide them. but they are also amazing and can lead us to places we'd never even be able to imagine. if we can respect them and be silent for long enough for them to find their voices.

i think i'll stop there. it was such a great, great, rich experience. i hope the guys found as much fodder for growth as i did. and if not, i hope they had as much freaking fun as i did.


Tiffane said...

"we're expecting our fifth child in november" - That hit me as I was not expecting that sentence in that particular paragraph in your normal flow of writing. Congratulations!

Also congratulations with the great robotics runs!

*Jess* said...

I think the week there was a good experience for all involved :)