Spring green is here. The bright light of limy color pulls me away from my work and I find that I am driven to get outside and enjoy it. In northern Minnesota, we find ourselves in this push and pull with the changing seasons. On average, we Minnesotans see the sun about 198 days a year, meaning that the other 48 percent of our days are spent under the clouds. But! When those leaves start popping out of the branches, and the songbirds amp up their chorus, even the most beloved indoor activities lose their ever-loving grip on my attention. Like folk musician, Greg Brown sings, “ A spring wind blew my list of things to do, away.”
Spring means the end of another education cycle. Graduation parties, spring concerts, finals, testing, and submission round out our May days. In our house, we keep chanting, “Finish strong,” to one another as we wrap up another pandemic school quarter. I am holding mountains of pride with children and students who have navigated the revolving door of school this year. “Finish strong” has less to do with GPA standing, or college track scores and more to do with mental and emotional endurance. Students who lost routines, activities, and events powered through these changes while learning fractions, and conjugating verb tenses in foreign language. And many did this work at home alone. Do you have a student in your house? See one walking down the street by your house? They deserve a parade, shouts, and showers of support and praise. We see you, students. Well done. We adults promise to get our crap together and do better for you, and with you.
At the end of the school year, we do a family check-in asking each other questions like the following:
What are you most proud of?
What was the most difficult?
Did you stay true to your internal compass? If so, how? If not, what got in your way?
What will you change for next year?
How can we support you best? (Or, How can I support me, best?)
Asking powerful questions like these prompts growth and our own recognition of personal spring. Our growth is cyclical too, ebbing and flowing like the seasons. Taking time to acknowledge our growths and failings encourages renewal and prunes out perfectionism. Humanity celebrates growth and success without acknowledging the many failures and attempts that made the growth possible. So as spring pushes her way up from the ground, and out through the branches, notice where you are pushing through, too. Stop and observe failures and attempts, without judgment. That is some real work. What was learned in the attempt? What will you try next time? Did you stay true to yourself? Many graces to you on your journey. Keep your head up, and finish strong.