I’m going to tell the team to call me maestro next season, I mentioned to Hayden.
It was in jest, of course. I’d been listening to Mitch Albom’s The Mighty Strings of Frankie Presto. In it, the main character calls his teacher, of course, maestro. Hayden gave me the look. No, she protested.
We could go with guru instead, I offered. They both mean teacher. (I had momentum.)
If you do, I’ll tell the school that you did something awful that you didn’t really do, Hayden threatened. And they’ll have to fire you. This, incidentally, ended the conversation. No maestro. No guru. Just coach, and I’m grateful to have that!
No matter what you call them, teachers pass through our lanes constantly.
Sometimes those teachers aren’t the coaches, friends, and parents we’re eager to learn from. They’re the jackhound who tailgates you on your way to meditation service. They’re the dipshit who doesn’t yield when you’re in a pedestrian crosswalk.
Knowing our place
We spend plenty of time sorting out the meaning of teachers behind our life curriculum.
What about what we’re supposed to teach? We’re not, individually, the center of the universe. Someone right now could use the kind of lesson you’d provide. It might not be in your wheelhouse, as marketing director, or counselor, or carpenter even.
It might be a door held, or passing smile.
It might be giving a young guy having car trouble a little of the coolant you keep in the trunk so his jalopy doesn’t overheat so easily next time. Or it might be a door held open for you and your stroller. More likely, though, and more importantly – we might not recognize the lessons we teach, at all.
This becomes a crucial element: To not devote time to an outline of teachings, but to submit yourself to each end of it.
It’s often a co-op, impossible to distinguish between mentor and student. Like with our kids, you can’t always choose your lesson. Mostly, you can’t. It isn’t in what you’ve prepared to say, it’s in what you’ve said when you haven’t prepared.
And still, somehow, they look up to us.
Happy for others’ happiness
Camdyn scored a ton of goals and played five games, nearly consecutively, on Saturday for a soccer tournament.
It’s just 3v3, Hayden would point out, and it was. Still, that didn’t dissipate any of the nagging humidity or keep the other team from swinging at her ankles. Camdyn had a blast, helping her team to rally in this small-field, high scoring version of the sport.
Hayden also chose to come out to support her sister, all day, under that relentless sun. Like her mom and me, was quite proud of how the littlest Pacheco girl played.
It’s not hard to be happy for others’ success when they share your DNA (and kick butt anyway). Can you feel it, though, for the team that just beat you in the final? Or for those who have more than you, like a car that accelerates when you hit the gas?
I walked around three places Sunday running errands – Southpark Mall, Wal-Mart and Dollar Tree – that will give you about as good a cross-section of your neighbors as any 1-2-3 combo can provide.
I didn’t interact with people much, but I made note of things they might have as blessings: A calmer pace, a purchase they loved, a window display clever enough that they stopped to take pictures of it as they shopped.
One guy gave his girlfriend a hard time about something, and she smacked him playfully with her purse. He feigned mortal injury and she laughed, just as they passed another couple, maybe friends, maybe on an awkward first date.
I saw a man checking out the Maserati parked in the mall, not in awe, but, it seemed, like, “should I get this in black, or white?”
I didn’t want to feel envy or disdain for any of them, for overt reasons and subtle, and I’m happy that I didn’t. How hard would it be to live with that sort of jealousy? Instead, I consciously noted happiness for whatever connection that couple had.
Or the fortune of the man by the car (which might have come from hard work, or as an inheritance – and that either way, at a cost), and that the woman who recorded the creepy moving eyes on the Louis Vuitton would make friends laugh, somewhere.
And happy for myself.
Struggles don’t fade away. On a sunny Sunday, after celebrating birthdays with family and picking up cool sports gear you found cheap online for girls you love, and your car will probably be fine to get you home to those girls … that’s something for gratitude, too.
There’s a lesson in that, isn’t there?
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