and received a 2017 Super Librarian Award
“How’s business?” I ask. “No one yet” he responds. Did I mention that we live on a dead end? Did I mention that he is charging $20 a car?
My entrepreneurial son is feeling a bit defeated after several afternoons of standing at the bottom of the driveway. I talk to him about the price of his car wash. I explain that while I know he has his heart set on a twenty dollar bill, people are looking for the bargain car wash and only want to spend about $6 or so. He begrudgingly makes a new sign to reflect the NEW rate - $6. And while he’s at it, I suggest using a marker so drivers could see it better. He goes back to the end of the driveway.
Possibility is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as “something that might or might not happen or exist.” The Oxford Dictionary defines possibility as “unspecified qualities of a promising nature or potential.” The common theme is potential. As a reader I know that it is a possibility that in a book…
- I will understand or learn something new.
- I will meet someone like me
- I will meet someone not like me
- I will travel
- I will escape
- I will love.
- I will be loved.
- I will fear.
- I will confirm my beliefs and ideas.
- I will meet someone or something that challenges my ideas.
- I may answer questions I have.
- I may develop bigger questions.
So let’s return to my son’s story. We left him standing at the end of the driveway (on our dead end).
My son knows that it will take him weeks to earn the kind of money that one car wash will bring him. The possibility of getting a customer that will bring those riches motivates him to prepare and wait. He knows that interest is developing. Neighborhood kids are asking him about business. One woman slowed down and offered him a dollar for his “efforts.” That was all the inspiration he needed. He was reinvigorated to stand at the bottom of the driveway.
As I watched this story unfold I was intrigued by the extraordinary moment of motivation. I began to reflect on what this meant to my role as an educator. Am I guiding my students to these moments of motivation? What is motivating me? How do I make this happen?
My son dreams of a booming car wash business because of the possibilities. Will he do business? That remains to be seen, but the neighbors are now waiving at the determined little boy at the end of the driveway.
Our students are opening a world of possibilities. Our job is to support them on their journey and provide them with opportunities to learn, affirm and challenge their beliefs, question and grow.
I would like to conclude with a quote from Jean Piaget. “The goal of education is not to increase the amount of knowledge but to create the possibilities for a child to invent and discover, to create men (and women) who are capable to doing new things.”
Go. Open the doors of possibility for your students and for yourself.