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School’s out for summer

The last week of school for the students has arrived and soon summer adventures will be on the horizon. Leila is moving on to Grade 4. Where does the time go and why does it have to move so fast?

To all the parents, friends, educators, coaches, colleagues, mentors, bosses in my life and Leila’s life, thank you for staying on course. We are stronger, wiser, and better prepared to meet whatever challenges come our way.

Leila continues to find her voice, still wants me close by, takes more steps toward autonomy, creates a strong circle of friends, listens well to educators, coaches, and others she sees as a source of guidance, remains curious and asks questions, and of course, the list could go on. This is just a snapshot for me to reflect on her growth. We have ebb and flow to our life. We appreciate that we each need our private time and our together time at home. Leila has become more responsible around the house with what needs to be done, many times self-initiated and, of course, some time with direction, even at times with a little prodding. No matter, it is so helpful.

This week Leila’s 3-on-3 team, Sharpshooters won the C Division playoff. Kudos to RHP, half of the teams that play in the league won the Stanley Cup. The kids are absolutely thrilled. 3-on-3 is an opportunity for the kids to continue playing hockey after their season is over. The Sharpshooters had ups and downs figuring out how to play as a team, because during their regular season half the team played against the other team in SPHL.

In this final game, they played so well as a team – passing, defence, covering the ice – pure magic against a fierce competitor. The last time the two teams met it wasn’t pretty. 3-on-3 is an example of how we can bring young people together to show them the flow of life - sometimes we are on the same team, sometimes not, however in the end we all belong together as friends. Relationship development is the critical primary skill to ensure they embrace, as this is the one that will be with them for the rest of their lives.

RHP has become a great place for Leila’s hockey development. To date she has played two years in 3-on-3, picked up to play goalie for another team, participated in 2 goalie schools, experienced a private lesson and a session on the blade. She has become a big fan of Coach Shawn and Coach Mackenzie. She likes every coach she has had at RHP. She hangs on to every word and her level of play has improved.

I know the work and the interactions for the staff at RHP is not always smooth. Sometimes the adults get a little kooky. I can honestly say what I witnessed when the staff has to address some sensitive issues; I am impressed with the professionalism on the handling of any situation that is presented. My only experience with anyone who represents RHP has been positive, helpful, accommodating, and many times fun.

The experiences in hockey and a comment this week one of my colleagues shared a made to her by a young person gave me a ‘light bulb’ moment. The young person was referring to a lesson with a focus on ‘bullying’ and how it was considered basically useless. At that moment I went back to a lesson I taught either at Levack or Lo-Ellen or both – lol I created a timeline on the board from when a student was first born to the time they were 80. I marked off the semester, (which was a dot) that I was their teacher to show them in the big picture the time I am with them on their journey, which is longer than the one off presentations that many are asked to do to change student behaviour. Keep in mind; research clearly states one caring statement from one caring adult can get a young person to change direction to a healthier, safer path. This is not about discounting the time our paths cross with young people, rather to point out we are a part of the layers put in place to help them to grow, to guide them, to care for them – be it for a one-time presentation, a conversation, or multiple interactions.

Many of the people I have worked with over the years in education, in sports, in policing, in business, and in community intentionally were doing the best they could with the young people in their lives – end of story. Many of these individuals, me included would fret over not reaching a young person or cringe with feedback that said the goal didn’t hit its mark and then, it hit me – each of us has a part in providing the guidance, the support, the resources and we simply keep going. Today, we are not the ones who hit the mark with everyone, but we did with some. Those who we did not weren’t ready, as their path still required some more struggles. All of us together, not giving up, working consistently and respectfully together, will hit the mark. When the student is ready, the help appears. This means we push forward even when they say ‘we suck’; ‘we don’t get it’; ‘we don’t care’; ‘this won’t work’; and ‘this is a joke’; etc. The working hypothesis, they are crying out for help in the only way they know and we must prove to them we aren’t going anywhere, and you are not alone. Whether we are a speck or a chunk is irrelevant; that fact that we are a part of the journey is critical. Acknowledge you are doing the best you can at this point in your life and in their lives as long as we are still breathing there is hope in life we can achieve our goals and they can achieve their goals.

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About The Author

Anna Barsanti is a retired educator who is sharing the experiences of raising her niece.

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