April 29, 2021

TC Weber: A Race To Nowhere With No Guaranteed Winners

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TC Weber has been doing some reflecting on his own life, and his younger self’s dedication to working long and hard to win the race, and the consequences that came with it.

In fact, when Vanderbilt called me at 5pm on a Tuesday night, after running some tests, to tell me that I had A1C of 13 and that I needed to get to ER promptly, my answer was that I was working and would come in the morning. It was only after multiple calls the next morning that I made it to the ER. It was 4 days later when I finally left the hospital.

Then there was the time I woke up at 6 AM at Vanderbilt Hospital with a BAC of .43%  – I took pride in playing as hard as I worked. I walked out of that hospital at 7 AM and put in a full day of work. Who knows how efficient I was, but by god, I was there. Because if I wasn’t…somebody would pass me in the mythical race.

As I got older, it began to dawn on me that there really wasn’t a race out here and our time on earth was finite. When the end came was anybody’s guess. But a life worth living meant taking your eyes off the so-called prize, smelling the flowers, and enjoying where you are that day. In order to have meaningful relationships in your life, you had to work at them. I had to learn the hard way that sometimes the most precious moments are the smallest.

What has triggered this backward glance? The declarations about Learning Loss remind him of that snow job regarding “some mythical race to success going on.”

Future success hinges on so many different variables, that it is impossible to isolate those that will play the heaviest. Yes, learning to read is primary. But just because you don’t learn it at age 6 doesn’t mean you won’t learn it at 7. Or even hit proficiency at 8. Again I look to my daughter for illumination.

She was 6 when we tried to teach her to ride a bike. She struggled and quickly abandoned the idea. Even the next year when her brother, a year younger, became proficient, she wanted no part of it. Over the next two years, he roamed the neighborhood on his bike while she remained content with her scooter. We lamented that she would never experience the joy of riding a bike. We fell into the trap of thinking that since she didn’t learn it young, she’d never be able to learn it.

When she was 10, for some reason unknown to us, she decided she was ready to learn. She hoped on a bike, and literally within hours, she was riding like she’d been doing it for years. These days, she’s a bike rider, we don’t even remember a time when she couldn’t ride. The point is she learned when she was ready to learn, and there is no way to measure what other influences led her to a point where she was ready to learn. So it’ll be with kids and this year of unfamiliar schooling.

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