One Minute and Counting

Jane needed to use the bathroom. But there was a slight problem.

She was at Destination Imagination practice.

Why was this a problem?

Jane is a Freshman in college. For the second year in a row, she is coaching a young DI team. The kids are now fifth and sixth graders and are very rambunctious. She has trouble getting them to focus, and if she lets them go to the bathroom, they take a long time and are gone long enough for her to believe they are playing.

So whenever they ask to use the bathroom, she gives them a tight time limit.

She looked down at her phone. They were getting ready to run through an Improv skit. The timer on the phone was set to five minutes. I don’t think I can wait five minutes, she thought. There was no choice.

“Guys, sit tight for a few minutes. I need to use the bathroom,” she said, getting up.

“You’ve got one minute!” the kids announced with joy.

As she raced down the hall, she heard them counting: “Sixty! Fifty nine! Fifty eight! Fifty seven!…”

She tried to hurry, but sometimes a trip to the bathroom simply can’t be a quick affair. While she sat uncomfortably in the stall, the girls poked their heads into the bathroom.

“Your time is up! Come on! Let’s go!” they called out laughing.

“I’ll be out in a minute! Just go wait in the room.”

The girls giggled as they walked away.

When she returned to the room herself, one of the boys looked up. “You went poop, didn’t you?”

“I’m sick!” she tried. The kids weren’t buying it. They were enjoying every minute of her embarrassment and the turning of the tables.

She has a special bond with these kids. She doesn’t have all of the experienced kid-handling skills of the teachers and parents who manage the other teams. She’s sometimes rough and has trouble being patient.

And she’s got a lot going on. It’s her first year in college and it’s been a very difficult adjustment for her. She’s dealing with some personal challenges while learning to live in an apartment with a roommate, making her own decisions, and setting her own schedule. She lives in the adjacent town and travels about twenty minutes to get to practice.

But these kids love her and she loves them. I think they appreciate her “cool” young adult persona. I’m proud of her for agreeing to coach them with all the unknowns she has this year. I think it helps keep her grounded and gives her some responsibility for something beyond herself.

And it’s just flat-out humbling to have a kid knowingly state the condition of your bowels. In front of other laughing kids.

Did this strike a chord with you? Tell me about it!

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