Commentary 02 Mar 2009 10:19 pm
In my freshman English classes today, we read an essay called “Carry Your Own Skis” by Lian Dolan. I hadn’t heard of the author, but her essay is impressive. Her point is that we need to be more accountable for ourselves and our belongings, to be the kind of people who carry their own skis from the car to the slope and back again, instead of relying on others to do it for us.
The piece gives plenty of examples of people in everyday life who have not learned to carry their own skis, including co-workers who never organize, contribute to or attend office birthday parties, unless they are the guests of honor.
I hope some of my students picked up on the not-so-subtle message. The author includes references to high schoolers who call home for parents to bring them homework assignments. I’m going to incorporate “carry your own skis” into my daily lexicon with kids; it’s a neat metaphor, and oh so true.
The essay, printed in our Prentice Hall Literature textbook, is also available along with writings by Lian’s four sisters in Satellite Sisters’ Uncommon Senses, named for the public radio show the five siblings share. It is also available by scrolling to the bottom of the book’s listing on Amazon. If you haven’t already, click the link and give it a read. As a bonus, it includes more examples of people who carry (and don’t carry) their own skis throughout life.