I was a pretty obedient student at primary school, unremarkable in lots of ways but the sort of kid you could leave holding a compass without anyone getting stabbed.
I vividly remember one occasion though where I disappointed my teacher and its stuck with me ever since, not least because I’ve found myself repeating it (or if I’m good, about to repeat it and stopping myself) a few times in the 30 or so years that have since elapsed.
Here’s the scene: We, a small group including myself wanted to kick a ball around but didn’t have one, so we asked the teacher in charge of the store cupboard to loan us one. To our surprise our request got a positive response and off we trotted, ball in hand.
Thing is, the ball never got played with over that long dinner hour because we couldn’t find a place where we could play that didn’t have other kids in it who might steal the ball or even just want to join in, diluting our small group’s fun and enjoyment.
Before you know it, the bell is rung and it’s time to go back to class where the teacher who has been watching our comical prevarications takes the ball back and tells us we won’t be borrowing one again.
The lesson, better to have the joy of kicking the ball and seeing what happens next than to hold on tight with the certainty that nothing interesting is going to happen anytime soon.
So go ahead, drop the ball once in a while.