The End Of Your Rope

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week.

Can you remember the last time (if ever) you've been at the end of your rope? I've been reflecting about that a lot lately because this week at the Moody Scholars Banquet the emcee asked this question of the grads:  
Who's at the end of your rope?
It's an interesting question, really, 
and one that I'd also like to add this to:  
Whose rope are you at the end of?
And I'm reminded of a story called 
The Bridge by Edwin Friedman.

If you're not familiar with it, you must click on the link above and treat yourself to an intriguing dilemma. Basically, a Man is crossing a bridge on his way to his well-deserve and hard-earned life's success when he's met by another, someone he does not recognize, with a rope. This Other hands the end of the rope to the Man and asks him to hold on tightly. It all happens too fast for the Man to think about this odd request, so he grabs it without anticipating that the Other would jump. Anyway, go ahead and read it, 
then come back for the rest of the story ... I'll wait.

So, back to the question about who's holding on when you're at the end of your rope. I posed a similar query to some students in small group yesterday, using Uno Jenga blocks as a visual:

Who's there for you when your life gets shaky, like this tower? What might cause these pieces to come out? Who or what might help you put them back in? And if the tower - aka your life - does start to fall apart, whom are you going to call (or text?) to help you put it back together?

Notice I didn't ask who's going to put it back together for you, but rather who's going to help you.  It's important to put trustworthy and responsible people in our paths - for sure! - but it's even more crucial that we empower our little leaders with the mindset and skill set to help themselves when they're at the end of their ropes, when their foundations get shaky, when life pulls those critical blocks out of their towers. We cannot afford to let them be the Other on that bridge and solely rely on another to pull them back up.

As we launch into Teacher Appreciation Week, I applaud those of you who've answered the call to touch our future and give them the lifelong skills that they need not only to survive but to thrive. You are at the end of many young people's ropes and that's a huge responsibility. 
More than just a job, it's a passion. 
You are positively influencing our future. 
Every day. 
This week, we're celebrating you. 
Job well done!


  1. This post has given me much to think about...
    And I love the Jenga analogy.
    I hope you know that you are just as much a part of my "support system" as my teacher friends who work just a few yards away...

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  2. Happy Teacher Appreciation Week, Barbara! Even though we (sort of) celebrate ourselves in February, I will always be a teacher first and foremost, so I double-dip! Loved The Bridge fable; I was not familiar with it. Will have to consider whether or not to use it with students. I often include a lesson in certain small groups where we talk about being at the end of our rope. I give each student a piece of rope. Since we're Virginians, and he's in our history standards, I always springboard the session by referring to Thomas Jefferson's quote, "When you think you have reached the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on." Last weekend I visited Jefferson's home, Monticello, and found out that that quote has been attributed to him but never found among his writings! Oh well, I still like it and it makes for a great lesson...


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