This past week I had a moment that struck me, and instantly I knew I had to write about it. It was a small interaction that hit me in a big way.
As I was walking to the bathroom from my office, which is located past the stairway on the second floor, and around the corner by the very far hidden elevator, I noticed two students in front of me that were walking the same way.
This isn't unique, as my office floor is a pathway to many classrooms, offices, etc. As I watched the two young men, who were also student athletes and extremely fit, I noticed them walk past the entrance to the stairwell. Instantly in my head I thought, alright, well, I guess I'll have to wait to use the restroom since I assumed that's where they were going.
As I rounded the corner, I saw them continue on, past the bathroom, moving towards the elevator. Immediately this bothered me. Maybe it shouldn't have, but I thought I'd explore the situation a bit further. I walked toward the young gentlemen as I knew both of them from a previous class, and asked, "why are you two taking the elevator?"
They both looked at me, and then at each other, and responded with, "we always take the elevator, it's way easier than walking down a flight of stairs. Gotta keep our legs fresh Mr. G."
I probably should have let it go, but I couldn't, and I was dumbfounded. I grilled them a little bit about it, and told them at some point just because things are put in place for you to make things easier, doesn't always mean you should use them.
When I returned to my office I couldn't shake it from my mind. I see students use the elevator all the time, and I always wonder, why do they choose to do that, when it takes longer than walking up the 10 stairs to the second floor. I couldn't stop thinking about their "easiness" approach.
I'm worried about how often people, myself included, "take the elevator" approach to things in our life. How much is it impacting us? Does it waste more time? Does it help us get any better? Is this just stupid to think about?
I was always told the things in life that truly make you better are ones in which are hard, and make you feel uncomfortable. Does walking up a flight of stairs make you better? I don't know, but developing a mindset that doesn't look for the easy way is something that I definitely think does.
Ultimately I worry about those two young men and how many "elevators" they will look for, take, and ingrain in their life. One of my favorite quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr states:
"Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the entire staircase."
What happens when students don't even give themselves an opportunity to see the staircase, both literally and figuratively. I sincerely hope that rather than trying to "stay fresh", we continue to try to "exhaust" ourselves every single day.