Sometimes, I get (or make) my children to sit and listen to my distilled nuggets of wisdom that I have learned from my horrendous mistakes, beautiful periods of love, and just living on this planet a little longer. Being both a dorm parent and regular parent presents various opportunities for little practice speeches, that hopefully get digested by the bubbling and broiling teenage brains that I face.
Many of these lessons I picked up and cleaned off while standing sopping wet around camp fires with Greg Ewert. His memorial was yesterday and we remembered him by reaching out and grabbing as much life as we could. Colleen ran a 10k race for women and I went out to the forest on my bike looking for that Bear.
Greg always engaged students within a ginormous safe zone filled with truth and equal footing for all ideas. We would be standing in the fire trying to stave away the rain with the silly hope of getting dry. Conversation topics would flare up, some dying quickly in the air or blazing up to hold the attention of those young minds.
I learned about the truth of being an educator during those days and nights sailing little boats to little islands with groups of students. The pieces of knowledge we focused on were just vehicles for larger emotional, social and inner truths. Really, for the first time, I saw that we are educating ourselves by pulling the present, past and future societies together, in hopes that everything we hold dear can last beyond our own breaths.
Greg remains a powerful influence on my teaching style and how I view, as an educator, my place in the world. I hear his words echo in my own as I try to read charts, adjust sails, help forecast the weather and serve as a safe harbor for my family, students and others within our little boats as we sail towards our own little islands.
Greg, your lessons are still teaching us. We will miss you.