This week, the Heroes dropped a plate during the cleanup of CSA lunch. At the time, I was in the studio. If I hadn’t wandered into the kitchen to check on the progress, I wouldn’t have known that the incident occurred. And that is kind of a remarkable thing.
One hero was already on the way to fetch a broom and dustpan. Another hero warned, “You shouldn’t walk around in those flip-flops; you could get hurt.” The broom arrived when a third hero observed, “I see shards all the way across the floor, so make sure to sweep all around.” They stated any advice that I would have offered. In 5 minutes, everything was picked up.
The Heroes didn’t come to get an adult because they didn’t need an adult. Something had broken. They knew how to solve the problem. And they fixed it. Simple.
I thought back to my elementary school, even later school years, and I can’t remember a single time I broke something in school. Not because I was a particularly careful child, I don’t think that I was ever given the chance.
Perhaps for the best, a school doesn’t want to have to budget for 500 new plates every year. But I wonder about the bigger picture too: how many times was I given the chance to fail cheaply? Where were the opportunities that I had real responsibility and messed it up, then could fix it?
This is a school where students are learning that it is okay to fail because they have the power to make things better. Will another plate get broken? Maybe, but I imagine that the Heroes will be more careful next time. More importantly, they demonstrated that they know it is okay to fail and they are capable of fixing it. I think that is worth every penny for a new plate.