Thank you, Karlee, My Student, My Teacher

Wisdom comes in all sizes, shapes, ages and situations. It can be easy to lose the lesson by thinking it is supposed to look a certain way and be delivered in a specific fashion. May this be a reminder for you, too, to see the gift of the lessons from an unexpected teacher.

Karlee, as a five-year-old ski student in my ski class, I sit in wonderment of how much I actually received from you. I write to express my gratitude for all you gave me. We bonded in ski class. You had my heart. I write this tribute to the gifts I received from you as a devoted student. These gifts I take with me to remember in my own life.

I appreciate the abundant enthusiasm that you brought to each lesson! I agree with the notion that the student can create the teacher. Your energetic eagerness as the student inspired me to fully embrace my passion for play on skis. Who better to play with than you? So, play we did! Through the trees, the deep powder, the new trails, we went. You brought lively animation in your lilting voice with frequent conversation in your relaxed body that was ready for play or skiing, also when we came in for lunch.

You brought your willingness to explore and do new things. We investigated new places. Some of those places were new for me! Interesting places with new names and fascinating features like Pixie Sticks with trees and many trails. Of course, sometimes we went the same places. Yet those places were changed because of new snow, increased skills, or the added mileage that allowed for increased ease. They were old places offering new adventures. You were always ready to head into someplace new. That prodded me to go into all the more different places!

Your extroverted self was always saying something to keep us all entertained. You were ever willing to share your thoughts, ideas, stories and requests. Though the requests were voted upon, you easily won others over to your point of view and thus your selection. I was confident when sending you to ride the chair with others because ours was full that you would have those on your chair entertained too. I kept smiling as you consistently won over others. You are your charming self! Like the man who saw all the kids in our class and said “cute kids” to which you promptly said “thank you.”

Your natural leadership was evident. That made my life easier, since all I really had to convince was you. Then you would persuade everyone else, as you did quite comfortably. While I watched others vie for that leadership role, their efforts were negligible competition for your practiced polish. I mentioned to one woman you had asked for assistance that you were going to be the first woman president. Her response was “she has my vote!”

I was impressed with your ardent loyalty. You were always connecting with others and had a variety of other instructors. You always gave me big hugs and asked if you were going to ski with me. When you were in my class, you always connected with me with your open heart. I always felt I had your full friendship!

One of my very favorite things is your spontaneous expression! I still savor that day our full class was skiing in all the new powdery snow through the trees. You yelled out at top volume, “I love you, Teacher!” When I asked what made you say that, you said, “Because you take us in all the fun places in the trees and on trails.” In the over forty years of teaching skiing, that is the first time anyone has said at the top of their lungs that they loved me! I was invigorated and touched.

I love you, Karlee! I am inspired by our time together and all you gave me. May I always remember how it feels to be around abundant enthusiasm, to feel the willingness to explore and do new things, to be entertained, to see natural leadership, to have ardent loyalty and to receive spontaneous expression! I look forward to seeing you on the slopes. And the opportunity to have you as my teacher.

©Caron MacLane 2012