My family and I recently discovered Hamilton, which for no apparent reason I seem inclined to call Hamlet, and have been listening to it or singing it pretty much non-stop. We've discovered a remarkable number of other shows, songs, and situations the lyrics fit rather nicely into, and find ourselves accidentally quoting lines (see my first sentence for reference). Hurricane Hermine, which, thankfully, only dropped buckets of rain and rid our palm trees of some extra fronds, presented another opportunity for Hamil-flection.
Because the coast of our county was under several feet of water, in addition to the usual Labor Day holiday, we also had 2 hurricane days. Power, in fact, has only just been restored to some, making a completely miserable 5 days, no doubt. Hamilton, the founding father, uses the devastating hurricane that hit his home on St. Croix to write his way out of privation and anonymity straight into our history books. He was, in fact, particularly skilled at seeing opportunity in nearly every facet of his life. At the same time, he was constantly busy; restless and hungry for more, for "what's next". As I've been reading the biography by Ken Chernow, I find myself noticing again and again how much his behavior sounds like the best gifts of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Hamilton was driven. He never seemed able to slow down, to "talk less", or to resist the impulses of his restlessness. He was also brilliant. And he was given a gift, an absolute gift by life: he was able to control and direct the majority of his education. He was curious, as all kids are, but unlike our modern students, he saw education as his way out. Until he arrived in The Colonies, as a 19-year-old man, he was entirely self-taught, and still earned himself a place in King's College, and, after the war, earned his way onto the New York State Bar in record time. He devoured the Classics, chasing that relentless something driving him onward.
If there is something to be learned from Hamilton, the man, it has to be that our students can lead themselves to greatness, whatever that means for each individual life. We need to find ways, as educators to get out of the way and let opportunity do the knocking.