OUTDOOR TRUTHS: Best Lessons Are Often Outside the Classroom
By Gary Miller
When I was young our summer break from school was three months. It wasn’t until September that we returned. Today, there is serious discussion about going all year long. I say those who are discussing that need to get a life. They seem to have forgotten that all learning doesn’t take place in a classroom. Some of the best lessons I learned in life were during the summer.
And my classroom was usually on a ball field, a creek bank, or in the woods behind our house. I learned lessons like if I wanted to play baseball, I would have to be responsible to get myself to practice – on my bicycle. I learned other things while I was there as well. Things like just because I showed up, I was not guaranteed to play. There would be a winner and a loser. Everyone would not get a trophy. Black people and white people needed one another. Life is not fair. And wool socks were hot and wouldn’t stay up.
One of my favorite trips during the summer was to the public pool. It was there I learned important things in life like a full and half gainer, a back one and a half with a half twist, and how to flirt by using a well-placed cannon ball. That pool was equipped with a low and high dive, while today’s pool has outlawed most diving for fear of lawsuits. Back then, we thought lawsuits were for people in big cities who didn’t know what an accident was.
A few years ago, while speaking in Oklahoma, I heard a familiar sound. My mind raced to recognize its origin. Finally, after seeing its source, I was brought once again to those summer days. It was an ice cream truck, just like the one that stopped at my house each day when I was a child. I can remember how the music was my cue to get my money ready before he arrived. No, my summers were not wasted; nor were they filled with empty and unproductive days. They were some of the best times of my life. God had them scripted out perfectly in order for me to learn the things that I would have never learned in school.
Gary Miller can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org