Life Lessons and Gutter Balls

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One of the greatest things about being a teacher is learning from my students. I have learned a lot about myself by interacting with kids throughout the years. My latest lesson came from a trip to the bowling alley with my Life Skills class.

The kids were excited to go and wasted no time donning shoes and bowling balls when we hit the door. I, on the other hand, spent a good portion of time on the ride over thinking of all the things I needed to do this week and how I could get them all done. This bowling was cutting into my dwindling time.

Time to bowl. Kids lined up to roll that massive ball down the lane. There it goes. Gutter ball. I prepared to console a sad, disappointed face returning to retrieve the ball and try again. My condolences were drowned out by a cacophony of cheers and screaming at the great effort and well wishes for the next time up. I was silenced by kids whooping and screaming and encouraging each other despite where the ball landed when it stopped rolling.

Make no mistake. Some of these kids were aces on the lane. A few threw strikes and picked up spares better than I could. Others were doing all they could to get the ball down the lane let alone knock down a pin. Yet, that was no worry to them. They cheered and screamed for their peers as though they’d hit a strike each time. Their enthusiasm was contagious. In no time, I was screaming and cheering along with them. It didn’t matter where the ball landed, the effort for trying and competing was enough to cheer loudly.

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