Saturday, April 23, 2022

Keeper of the Keys

Though I don’t do it often, I’m a sucker for the Hop Off-Hop on buses, the guided tours, even the occasional Disneyland ride. I love the feeling of someone else being in charge and me just sitting back and letting them take me away.


But I’m a teacher. Which means that mostly I like to be in charge. I like to be the keeper of the keys and the driver of the car. And so, in the 5th day of traveling with my wife and a friend, we indeed have settled comfortably into a natural division of labor. I’m driving the stick-shift Fiat, my wife is reading the maps, the friend is in charge of the parking machines. It’s working well. 


Yet being in charge does not mean dominating, but leading us all to the edge of discovery. Driving, as we did yesterday, to Finnes-terra, the end of the land and opening the door to the blustery winds and pounding waves and the invitation of the far horizon and letting them speak to each of us in our own way. Indeed, “leading to the edge of discovery” is a phrase I came up with early in my teaching to define my role as a teacher. Creating the structures, setting the tone, guiding the students to come to their own edge of discovery and then letting them go to see what happens. 


My job as “keeper of the keys” is to determine which doors seem locked and find out which keys fit, both in myself and in my students. And then open the doors and discover which ones to step through. 


Today we return the rental car and its keys, tomorrow leave our Air B&B keys in the rental box and leave ourselves in the hands of our group bike tour guide. That will be a different kind of pleasure. For now, the keys sit comfortably in my pocket and the day awaits to see which doors it will open. 

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