Wednesday, September 12, 2012

“Achieving Maximum Potential” a Lesson from Mr. Rawson

Back in 2003 I was home watching The Oprah Show and her guest that day was a teacher from New York named Ron Clark.  He was on the show promoting one of his books called The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator’s Rules for Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child, which I did go out and buy and, yes, I did read it.  I have purchased his most recent book The End of Molasses Class.  I will admit that my girls have had, what I would call, a privileged education, being able to go to school in an international environment has been a pretty exciting and rewarding for the both of them.  However, as I have met many teachers along their education path I never really met that “Ron Clark” kind of inspiring teacher until last week. 

Last Friday evening, Vermouth received her Middle Years Programme (MYP) Certificate.  To us, it’s a wonderful and huge accomplishment because of the work that is involved in accomplishing this certificate.  We are very proud of her; woo hoo Vermouth!

It started off as your typical school presentation/celebration evening until a teacher spoke whom the class directly chose. Mr. Rawson is a science teacher who taught many of the students in the previous year physics; sadly, Vermouth did not have him, as she is more of a biology student than a physics student.

Mr. Rawson started his speech off with giving a broad definition of the word “eudaimonia” coined by the philosopher, Aristotle.  He spoke about how as a student (or person) we are always striving for “maximum potential” and therefore achieving happiness.  But once we achieve our maximum potential, do we stop here?  Mr. Rawson’s answer was no that we are always striving towards our next maximum potential (or goal). His motivational speech was supposed to be geared towards the students receiving their MYP certificate that evening.  However, his speech was so profound because it could be applied to every person sitting in that auditorium regardless of age.  I thought about how each of us, almost daily, is striving for our maximum potential and once we have achieved that goal, we create and move on to the next goal.  His speech could be applied to The Shaker and his work, Gin and her final year of high school and the filling out of university applications, and even right down to me striving to manipulate yarn to create a beautiful aran sweater. 

Since Mr. Rawson is a science teacher, he performed a chemistry experiment on stage demonstrating, visually for the audience, this concept of achieving maximum potential.  He spoke about how crystallization can be applied to achieving maximum potential.  Click here to see an example of Mr. Rawson’s experiment. He explained that the “seed crystal” once added to the solution would be the same as achieving maximum potential or “eudaimonia” for these students sitting in the audience.  At the close of the evening, he gave each student a seed crystal with clear instructions about placing it in his/her bedroom so that they would see each day and strive towards their maximum potential. 

I told Vermouth there was no way she was going to hide this wonderful gift in her bedroom for her eyes only.  I asked if she would be so kind to place it in our Whiskey Corner so that everyone could see, reflect and achieve eudaimonia.

The Martini Knitter

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