Tuesday, March 31, 2015

SOLSC March 31 - Time is a Treasure

Join me as I participate in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge. Other "Slicers" can be found among my students in the comments of my class blog. There are also several hundred teachers participating at https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com

"I think that's Drake and one of his daughters over there," Susan commented.

After checking the traffic in front of me I stole a quick glade to my left. Sure enough, two lanes over, was Drake and his teenage daughter in their white minivan. The name Meghan floated up from the depths of my brain and attached itself to the face that was several years older than when we had last seen it.

I gave my horn a couple of quick toots but they did not look over. The traffic slowed at a red light and  I had to pay closer attention to the cars around me. I gave one more try with the horn but they were engaged in their own conversation and that silly car moment of recognition and connection was missed.

How to spend the treasure that is time?

Drake's wife, Elizabeth, taught at the same school as Susan and Meghan was in Susan's class for fourth grade. Elizabeth and Drake were our walking buddies and we used to meet regularly at the park between our houses and walk a few mile-long laps on around the lake. We connected well, had some travel stories to tell, and laughter was easy and often. We shared the occasional meal with each other and they invited us a few times to their family's house in Grand Lake.

Then things changed because life changes. First the school where Susan and Elizabeth worked closed. This lead to Drake and Elizabeth's family moving to ensure the schools they wanted for their daughters. While they moved only ten minutes farther away, meeting at the park was not as convenient. We went over to their new house several times, even doing some walks from there around the big high school and parks in the area. Then Susan was pregnant and the walks could no longer be at the brisk fifteen-minute mile pace we were all used to. We had Clara the next summer. After all that, there were a couple of the mandatory baby viewings but them we were busy in a new way and our connection was too easily lost.

There is now a disc golf course in the park near their new house. I have been playing a round with friends there on Sunday afternoons. While I'm there I steal an occasional glance to see if they are walking along the path that winds along the edge of the course. I know it's a long shot since they are morning walkers but things do change.

Seeing Drake yesterday makes me think of all the people and things that are important but need the time taken to stay relevant. I'm lucky to have had a lot of friends but sadly, with most, I know what's going on with them due more to social media than due to getting together. I've had over a thousand students in my classes that I have loved and worked with and watched grow, and they too become faded memories all too quickly unless we keep a connection going. It's almost April, which means there are nine students of my twenty-three, who will soon be leaving my class for good. Four have been with me for three school years and the others are in their second year in my class. That's a lot of real-time hours we've spent together in the classroom and on trips, that email, Facebook and the occasional visit can not replace.

Today is the last day of the Slice of Life Story Challenge. It's the second year I've participated and completed it. Again, my students have blogged like stars and there are many who wrote for thirty-one days straight along with, and often ahead of me. I feel a lot of pride in myself and even more in them. I know I would not have done it except to be a model for them. It's an example of how my students continually push me to work at my own writing skills, the craft of teaching, and to be a better person.

Last year I did not keep writing as I wish I had after the SOLSC. I don't know what I will do this year.  As with many important things in life, I get to make the choice what I find time for.

I should find the time for a walk with Elizabeth and Drake.

photo credit: Time Pieces via photopin (license)


  1. Congratulations of finishing 31 posts in one month! I liked how you expressed that you write to be an example for you students. That says so much about you as a teacher! You take the time and effort to not just talk about writing but to actually do it! Hope you will find some Tuesdays to join us during the year!

  2. I think our students did so great, Max. Only a few really dropped out since Friday. What I hear you saying is that there is so little time, & the priorities must be that, priorities, so those, like Elizabeth & Drake, aren't around so much any more. Hard to choose, isn't it? Congrats on making it 31 days, & happy writing wherever you do it.