Sunday, October 12, 2008

R.E.A.C.H.: Responsibility + high Expectations (followed by Action)- Consequences = Hope

On my way back home on Friday down the road with more traffic lights than I can count, I called a friend of mine expecting only to leave a message. When she picked up on the fifth ring, I was pleasantly surprised. Originally, my intention was to have a short conversation concerning our travels to the same city at the end of October. Instead, it lasted well over the ½ hour mark. However, this made the slow moving traffic seemingly go a little faster because I was in good company. We bounced from one topic to another with her sharing thoughts about her consultative work with classroom teachers in the middle and high school and I with my work with academic coaches. Interestingly enough as I thought about it later, which I often do after the conversations have ended, there seemed to be common threads that connected our stories together as our talk came full circle.

And as I sit at my writing desk looking out over my deck as the sun shines through the blinds on this early Sunday morning, I am reminded of an earlier time in my life when R. E. A. C. H. played out. I don’t recall how old we were but I do remember the characters in the play: my two brothers and I; my sister and JC; Mrs. G. and my mom. You see, there was a woman at the end of Prospect Street who we perceived as mean, and therefore, being the pranksters (or today what would be called “a mess”) decided that we would dump the bagged leaves that Mrs. G. had put into the plastic bags. And so we did, and after, running for cover through the trail leading to the woods back home. As small towns go, the news soon hit our household and my mom, to say the least, was NOT HAPPY!

We soon found ourselves speed walking to the end of our street to Mrs. G. house. Halfway there one of us said to my mom. “How come JC doesn’t have to come with us?”


My mom looks at the four of us and says sternly, “Because I am not JC’s mother and if I was, she would be here alongside you as well."

It was our last walk to the land of consequence all the while seeing the white house visibly before us until we made our way onto the front porch steps. Our hearts ticked away louder and louder and louder it pulsed until Mrs. G. opened the door and there she stood in all her oldness.

I’m not sure if my mother had not been there whether on our own we would have taken responsibility, but what I know to be true is that she was. Today, that is what I call hope. My mom set high expectations for us all, and in doing so, whether forced or not, we ultimately took responsibility and followed it by action fixing the mess we had created. Something for us to think about and before I go away for the day, I end with this question: When in your life have you used the principles of R.E.A.C.H.? And in the work that you do when have you articulated it to others?.....until next time-Teach.