Red Rover, Red Rover
Is this pandemic year over?
By: Lindsay Zilly
I grew up in the 90’s and a playground favorite pastime of my friends and I was, believe it or not, playing Red Rover. To play, you’d divide into two teams and stand opposite each other with some running distance separating you. Then, you’d link arms or hold hands in a line facing your opponent and chant, Red Rover, Red Rover, send Lindsay right over! If your name happened to be called, you’d leave your team and run as fast as you could at the line of opposing players and attempt to run through their clasped hands. The goal was to break through the brick wall of children and bring someone back to your team with you. Conversely it was the opposing team's goal to hold strong and not let go of each other's hands and keep you from severing the connection. If I’m being honest, it wasn’t the safest playground activity for us to be playing. However, it was exciting…and a little terrifying!
I’m not sure why, but the memory of playing Red Rover popped into my head on my drive to work today. This week has been particularly stressful and I was reflecting on how lucky I am to have people in my life selflessly picking me up when I need it most. We are having work done on our house and if you’ve ever been fortunate enough to get some projects done on your house, you know it rarely ever goes according to plan. This means I have had to be chaos coordinator for a family of 7 on the fly this week. Fortunately, I have the best friends and neighbors who are making it all possible. I know how lucky I am but it is also more than luck; it’s something I refer to as relational currency. Other people might say it’s Karma or manifesting good energy but for me it can be summed up by the old adage: what goes around comes around.
I love it when I can find a way to help out a friend. Whether it’s doing their grocery shopping for them (thank you InstaCart), sending them an adult beverage on a particularly lackluster day (hello Binny’s to go!) or taking care of dinner for them (I’m looking at you Door Dash), helping a friend in need is my love language. And today, technology has made it so much easier for us to share the load and help each other out in our greatest times of need. By doing these small random acts of kindness, we are building relational currency with our people. Then, when we are in need, help comes without a second thought.
How does this all connect?
I think for many teachers right now it feels like we are playing a giant game of Red Rover. We are standing shoulder to shoulder with our teaching besties facing down next month's calendar of events, to do’s and assessments. We are not sure what’s about to come our way, but if we are lucky, we have someone there to hold our hand and ground us when the next obstacle heads our way.
This year has left a lot of teachers feeling burned out or broken. Sure, it’s in our nature to keep moving forward because if we don’t, it’s the kids who end up suffering. But while it’s important for us to move forward, it’s equally as important for us to look at who is staying the course with us. Who is right there by our side to hold our hand when something big is headed our way or to help us up after we’ve been knocked down on our backs.
It’s the teachers in the trenches that are my reason for going to work every day. My Red Rover teammates who are staring down the second half of a school year and whispering to each other, winter break is coming. I’m incredibly lucky and grateful to have many whom I can call when I need support and I hope you are too.
So, here’s to all the educators out there feeling like they are stuck in an endless game of Red Rover. Know that we stand with you, shoulder to shoulder, as you navigate a truly unique school year. We are here to take your hand and lend you our strength when you feel like you can’t stand on your own two feet alone any more.
Call To Action
Invest in each other and do the same for a fellow teacher in the trenches. Establish that relational currency so you know it’s there for when you need it. Whether it is for the teacher next door or across the interwebs; stand together knowing that we’ve got your back!