Two quick narratives
1) I am a Minnesota Twins fan. I wasn’t, not really. Of course because championships are so rare for Minnesota sports fans, I think everyone was a fan in 1987 and 1991, but as I have gotten older, I really have come to enjoy the game. This enjoyment has no origin in my actual playing – I only played through Little League (a lot of Wiffle Ball Championships in the neighborhood, though!). I thought baseball was too slow and therefore boring. In high school I played soccer (football as a senior) and basketball, and ran track both in high school and my first couple of years in college.
My younger brother lives in Independence, Missouri, which is where the Twins would open their 2023 season. So over break I headed south – barely getting out because of the snow – and we went to two of the Twins’ first three games. When they returned to Target Field from their initial two series, I greeted them for their second home game: All of them were wins! While it is very early in the season, there is a hint of something special. (Can it be another ‘87/’91?!)
With the start of a new season comes my expectation that all the players on the roster are ready to play. I know 162 games is a bit much for all to make it, but I was honestly a bit shocked to see so many players already hurt and unable to participate in the Opener.
2) My daughter Carlie is a senior at Concordia College, Moorhead. She sent me a text message on Tuesday: “I think I left my backpack at school after track and now I don’t know where it is.” Is it in the field house? Would a coach or teammate pick it up for you? …was your computer in it? “I’m going now. It did have it (the computer) in it. I am so nervous.”
I have had this awful feeling she was experiencing of a sudden realization, panic, and then confusion on what I should do. It is hard to remain calm and problem-solve when adrenaline is flowing. As a parent, I have found it to be even more difficult to remain calm and supportive. I am naturally action-oriented, so I do something. Even if the end result is poor, I feel better knowing that I tried all that I could to change the outcome. When there is nothing I can do, however, helplessness can spill into hopelessness.
Fragility is the state of being delicate or breakable. With these huge contracts in professional baseball, I often wonder how these athletes are not able to avoid injury in a noncontact sport (getting hit in the face by a 96 mph fastball does not count). Are these athletes “fragile”? Carlie is super responsible and always has been. She rarely if ever misplaces or loses anything, so I see her as being “resilient.” The preferred term is “antifragile.”
The desired antifragile personality trait is because when one has stressors – in fact, they are needed – the individual is able to adapt and grow. From a parenting perspective, this is often defined as when a child has “natural consequences.” Instead of bringing the Chromebook to school, the child has to learn in a different way that day. Instead of ordering a Jimmy John’s to be delivered for lunch, the child is hungry that day. Instead of coming back to school with her binder, right after dropping the child off in the morning, she has to utilize her other tools to navigate the day. These are stressors I have seen just this semester at Spectrum, but they were removed, and unfortunately what was also removed was the learning that comes from that experience as there was no adaptation and therefore no growth for the child. My hope is that it was unique and that dependence was not happening.
Middle-schoolers need to do things on their own. When they have struggled, then they need to learn how to make requests for support. As that support, we need to inquire about what they have tried before helping, encouraging attempts first. We certainly should never do their work or solve their challenges. The middle-schooler needs to ask the questions, write the emails, talk to their teachers, and if the problem persists – maybe these are the most important stressors of life – adults are there as someone to help process, the shoulder of support (What can be different next time? What are the areas that you can control so a better result occurs?). Even in those horrible situations (bullying, cheating on a test, fighting) – maybe these are where the most learning occurs in life – the child can grow and become more competent and confident.
Carlie: “I found it - left it in the weight room” popped up on my phone not even ten minutes later. Whew! If her backpack had not been there, she would have had to figure it out. She would have inquired with her coaches and teammates, posted a sign to see if anyone had seen it or knew anything about it. She would have had to purchase a new computer; data may have been lost, but this stressor would have pushed her to grow. I am glad she did not have to grow in quite this way. Still, by reflecting on what did happen and could have happened, Carlie has had an experience that not only has prepared her for future challenges, but it also has shaped how she thinks, how she acts, resulting in a little more competence, a little more confidence, and making her more who she is.
…if only the Twins could be a little more antifragile.
Weeks at a Glance
- Monday, April 17: Professional Development Day - No School
- Tuesday, April, 18 - Friday, April 21: Student Council Spring Dress-up Days
- Thursday, April 20: Severe Weather Awareness - Discussed in Advisory
- Friday, April 21: 8th Grade Field Trip & “7th Grade Orientation” for 6th Graders
- Tuesday, April 25 - Friday, April 28: Math MCA
- Friday, April 28: Final Collection Day (peanut butter) for the NJHS Drive
SPECTRUM ENROLLMENT for 2023-2024
- We are still accepting applications for 23-24 Spectrum enrolment. If you have a new student they must apply for enrolment - simply click this link Online Student Application to fill out and submit an application today!
- Also, our desire is for each of our students to remain at Spectrum for their entire middle and high school experience to fully benefit from the top-notch college preparatory education offered. We recognize that there are times when that is not possible. If attendance plans for your student have changed and they will not be returning to Spectrum for the 2023-2024 school year, please click this Spectrum Withdrawal Form Link to fill out and submit your student’s official withdrawal to our Registrar, Christy Siegel, at email@example.com so that we can forward their records to their next school. If your child will not be returning to Spectrum, we sincerely wish them the best with their education.