Saturday, February 3, 2018

Syracuse Taught Me How To Run in Cold Weather. Louisville Taught Me How to Warm My Heart.


I should be given a contract for Saucony because I continue to be a tremendous fan. Yes, my little toe on the left foot always breaks through after a month or so, but there is not a sneaker that is more comfortable to wear while running. They provide awesome support. I've tried New Balances and Asics, gave up on Nike as a high school student, and have not been impressed by Reeboks. Of course, my bank account determines my purchase, and with new sneakers every few months, I always look for the best buy. I love when I find a pair of Sauconys on sale.

DSW did right by me and mailed me a birthday coupon which I cashed in on Thursday. Two days of running in Sauconys again and I'm like, "Crandall, why would you ever stray to another brand?" It is night vs. day. Saucony is the sunshine, green grass, blooming flowers, trees, and singing birds for my feet. I just feel like a different runner with them on.

Usually, I opt for an obnoxious color and design (that matches my car or 80s fluorescent music videos), but when I put on these puppies, I admit, "I've found myself a lover for the next few months." It is a beautiful relationship and right now I'm going through the star-gazing, dreamy period. I want to put them on the pillow next to me while I sleep.

Runs have been arctic, however, but I came home from work at 5 and hit the pavement. It was cold, but my Syracuse heritage helps me to realize that at 15 degrees, it is actually a heat wave.

And I wore my new Sauconys today when I visited the Read School, a pre-K thru 8 school in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Dr. Yohuru Williams introduced me to the principal, Sarhanna Smith. She invited me to her school, where I toured yesterday, and got the opportunity to learn about their building through her and a young man, with tourettes, who was having a difficult time accomplishing classroom goals. He was sent to the office to refocus. Principal Smith empowered him, however, by inviting him to be a guide for the two of us - a beautiful move by a brilliant leader. By the time we got to his class, he was ready to settle in and focus.

To be truthful, I could spend the rest of my life having principals and their students give me tours of their schools. This comes from my years as a K-12 teacher in Kentucky. My mind is especially drawn to art work and murals, as my Louisville kids taught me the power of creative expression. I particularly loved this mural because it reminded me of a doodle I would find in one of my grandmother's notebooks: loops, colors, and a few words: be responsible, be respectful, be safe.

These are the messages kids receive in a hidden curriculum. The more I explore schools across the nation, the more I want to find a way for local artists to paint murals above doors, in hallways, and in all the peripheral (and forward) views of kids. Shoot. Let the kids pay them.

Yes, the challenges are indescribable (maybe it should be an American prerequisite to shadow a Principal for a day to see what they face). Yet, art speaks and heals.

While walking, Ms. Smith and I came across an 8th grader who was not in class. "I'm taking a meta-moment," he reported. He explained that a meta-moment is a choice he has to leave a frustrating classroom situation to get a grasp on one's self - to refocus. Ms. Smith said, "Okay. I appreciate that you told me this is your meta-moment. I trust you'll find peace in your mind and return to the good work I know you're capable of doing."

That, I believe, is wonderful. School is hard: school is hard for everyone. Moments like this make me trust that there's hope.

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