As a teacher of young men I am constantly trying to engage students in activities that encourage restraint, whether it be meditation at the start of class, or developing a specific glossary of terms that must be included in a particular paragraph. I find that this gives students the ability to recognise what is important in an otherwise very ‘choice heavy’ modern age. While this practice often reaps rewards and increases outcomes for students, or in my case a more specific literary focus, what about when restraint is shown and your slapped in the face with a hard dose of reality. In this situation the amount of restraint you show doesn’t mean a thing!
A couple of weeks ago I took part in my second road race (74km) an hour and half west of the city of Brisbane. During the race my hubbard status shone brightly and I tried my best just to hold the group and secure a good position for the sprint finish. I had plentiful opportunities to take turns on the front, opting to let others pass so I could save some energy for the finish. This displeased my opponents as they cursed me for sitting in. My pride was damaged in the short term, but I knew that in order to have some legs in the finishing straight, sitting in was my best option. As I rounded the last corner I was in a great position, sitting in about 8th wheel and I knew that by showing restraint during the race that the odds where in my favour. However, 200m from the finish line as I was about to empty all the energy I had left, disaster struck. Two wheels in front touched which sent my team mate’s pedal into my front spokes buckling it severely. We both stayed rubber side down, luckily, but I had to accept the fact that the only way I was getting across the line was if I carried my wounded steed. The wheels are a minor casualty in the game of bike racing and I know that I was lucky to keep my body in one piece. I can’t help but think about the ‘what if’s’ and the ‘if I only’s’.
The point of this post is not to recognise my amateur ways in the racing world but to ask the question, what do you do when you (or your students) show restraint only to be foiled in the eleventh hour? I found comfort in the fact that I stayed in one piece and refocused my efforts to my next race but I’m a bit older than my students and I have life experience to tell me that sometimes this is the way things go. This is life. How do I explain that to a teenager?