“It’s Not That Scary”

As we continue forward well into the school year, I’m thinking back to a few weeks ago when I went with my family to the Little America Theme Park about an hour from our house. One of the attractions is a haunted house that sits ominously on the edge of the park. My kids just turned 9 and 6 so they were both pretty apprehensive about this frightening part of the park. My awesome wife is older, and even more fearful so she never even considered going in. She did give explicit instructions regarding hand-holding and my supervision expectations for inside the haunted house.

As my kids and I walked slowly, holding hands, toward the entry, the door opened slightly. Kids jumped back slightly. Door opened wider now. Fear.  A little, round-faced boy looked directly at my kids, shrugged his shoulders and said, “It’s not that scary.”

My older son shrugged back, and forged ahead. Armed with the new information from somebody who had been there before, my son stepped briskly now. Eager to see what came next. His fear had almost immediately turned to curiosity. His desire for safety transformed into a need to explore.

I wonder in education how many teachers and students are like my kids. They just need somebody to greet them at the door to say, “It’s not that scary.”

Whether it’s help with personalized professional development for educators, or a new concept or skill that students are learning, maybe we all just need somebody to say that it will be OK. Maybe that will allow us to put our fear aside, or at least have the courage to move forward. Maybe someone to reassure us will create opportunities for increased curiosity and expansive exploration.

For teachers, and for my students I want to be the guy at the door. Come on in.