There was once a very wise man that was much sought after for his advice. The man chose to live on a mountain top, surrounded on all sides by a deep cavern. The only way you could get to him for advice was to jump across the chasm.
Some people would look at the distance between the wise man and themselves, and simply walk away- the gap was too wide. Others would ask the wise man for help, and, one piece of wood at a time, he would toss a piece of wood across the chasm for the seekers of wisdom to build a bridge across to the wise man. They would build a step, measure the gap, and decide to attempt a jump or ask for more help. Still others trusted the wise man instantly and made the leap across the chasm.
Of those who chose to build the bridge, some would build the bridge out a few feet, others about halfway across. Still others would go all the way except for the last few steps- the wise man would never let them build the bridge all the way. When asked why, he responded, "If you believe me to be so wise, why do you not trust me enough to take a step out of your comfort, and take a risk to believe? I have given you aid, and guided your steps this far, there comes a point where it is up to you whether or not you truly trust me."
I have told a version of this parable for years. As a minister, it was that we all must eventually take a leap of faith to believe, we can only build a bridge so far to understanding before it is no longer faith. As an educator, we are in the business of building trust. We must give our students examples of reasons to trust us- build a bridge. Some students will walk in the door and jump to trust- others will need to spend time learning that we can be trusted. Most will need some proof- a piece wood tossed to them here and there that says we have their best interest at heart. A few will receive our examples of trust all year, stand but a step from the edge and never be willing to take that leap. But for it to truly be trust, we must lead our students to the point where they do step out, and take a risk, or they will never learn how to learn on their own.
Trusting us is just the first step of the journey. Our "wise advice" is that in order to grow, we must take risks. In order to learn, we must step out of our comfort, and push ourselves beyond what we feel is safe.
That is learning.
I teach Psychology, Sociology, Communication Applications and Debate at College Station High School, as well as coach the debate team and co-sponsor Student Council. I am an aspiring administrator.