Today my new bedroom set was delivered, and I must say it looks absolutely beautiful. During the delivery I began talking to the moving advisor who works in my building (I live in a high rise condo). This man is a ski instructor on the mountain just over a pass from where I grew up. It turns out he knows my first two bosses, Serge and Patrick (to be said with a highly seductive French accent).
These two men ran the ski school at Loveland Ski Area in the 1980s when I got my first job teaching skiing there. They not only hired my two other friends and me, but they also helped to train us into the skiers we became. They were the best type of boss: they pushed us to be our best in our vocation, but they pushed us to be even better in our occasion, the passion that brought us all to teach skiing in the first place, our love of skiing. These two men made sure the three of us never lost sight of our passion, and they gave us “free” ski days where they came out with us and actually pushed us hard to become better than any of us thought we could become.
This notion of finding what you love and becoming better at it has stuck with me. These two men were the first to teach me the growth mindset. They helped me understand that you can be good at what you do, but lose passion for your occasion for doing it in the first place. They always said that nothing else matters when the mountain is in front of you. All of the little things should fall away. Even if I was stuck teaching three year olds all day long, it didn’t matter because a day on the mountain, no matter what I was doing, is ALWAYS better than no day on the mountain…and that was exactly the attitude they took.
Any day I get to show kids the craft of writing, that I get to play with words, is always better than a day sitting in meetings. Figuring out ways to get better at my vocation, both teaching and writing, is better than a day without. For I have chosen my passion, teaching students to write well is the most important skill we can give them, to fuel my vocation.
That, my friends, is a sweet sweet lesson from my first job.