When I was a child, we only had three commercial television stations and PBS. Every Saturday morning was set aside for cartoons, and we were still “turning the channel” by hand. (Insert similar story from my parents about walking to school in the winter, through the snow, uphill, both ways.) A few times a year, there were “major television events.” We would gather to watch The Wizard of Oz or Gone with the Wind. I have vivid memories of the 3D glasses, one red lens and one blue lens, purchased from the convenient store to watch 3D movies on TV. Those were the days.
Communities came together. We shared collective experiences . We planned for them; the news hyped them up for weeks; and we knew exactly what everyone would be doing at that moment. It was an event.
This week I have a similar pair of glasses sitting on my desk. Something amazing is happening tomorrow. A once in a lifetime opportunity, a collective experience. Many have been waiting years, decades even, for the chance to see a total eclipse of the sun over the skies in the United States. It will be incredible. In our district a dedicated team of people have been getting us ready for this one day, this one moment, since last winter. Research has been done. Safety has been planned. Lessons are designed. We have even “drilled” the experience. It is going to be amazing! We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to show our students a solar eclipse at 98% (just out of the path of totality), to teach them the science, and to help them experience the awe that accompanies it.
But what if it’s cloudy?
Nature does not always cooperate with our plans. There is chance for clouds, even rain, on Monday. All of this work could be for naught.
I would propose that if it is cloudy, if the skies open up in a torrential downpour, we still have the opportunity to teach our students something important. First, of course, there is a Plan B in place. We know the ways we can live stream the eclipse to keep the instruction going. But I think we can also teach an important life skill if the best laid plans go awry. Attitude is everything. Embrace what the day gives you.
Things do not always go as planned. In fact, they rarely do. So what? Some of my favorite memories happened in unexpected rain. Riding the Splashover at Adventureland in a rainstorm was more fun than it would ever have been in the sun. Hiding under the evergreens on a mountain in Colorado (just yards away from the moose we never saw) was more memorable than a successful hike in the sun would have been. Attitude is everything. Embrace what the day gives you.
If it is cloudy on Monday, we will still get to show our students an eclipse. Maybe we’ll be in our glasses looking out the window then sitting in the library watching the NASA live feedback with hundreds of thousands of other people. Maybe we’ll see it over Oregon or Illinois. Still cool. Attitude is everything.
Embrace the experience…whatever it is.