Friday, May 23, 2014

Pushing Through

My Youngest Son plopped himself down on the couch beside me last night and vented his frustrations over a history assignment that he is working on.

The school year is quickly winding to a close and with that, there are big assignments due here, there and everywhere among his courses.

He does not like to be overwhelmed and he does a rather amazing job of keeping on top of things. He looks at the deadlines as 'the date to beat' and (I think) in most cases, he has his assignments finished before they are due.

Which (in part) was a huge part of his frustration yesterday.

He had a handle on the history essay that is due on Monday. It sounded like he was running right on schedule so that he would have that assignment complete before the weekend.

Yesterday was Thursday. The second-last school day before the assignment was due. And his teacher added a whole list of must-do items to the assignment format.

My son itemized each and every one of the items that she asked for and was over-the-top frustrated. He has had to write more essays in history than he has had to write all year in his English class. "Why can't we do English in English class and learn history in history class!?!!"

He really wasn't looking for answers. He needed to vent. He went up, down and all around the subject.

His history teacher is retiring at the end of this school year and apparently, she is trying things different ways as she exits the school system. He said that if he ever ends up in a class where the teacher is retiring again, he is going to switch classes. He is not impressed with her exit strategy.

He went on to say that she forgets what she has already told them. She changes her mind. She sounds 'all over the map' from where he is sitting.

Enter His Mother. That would be me. If I was adding 'years of service' (if I would have stayed in the banking industry) to my age these days, I too, could be talking of retirement. I asked My Son how old his teacher was (admitting out loud, that she was probably around my age). He scoffed and said, "Oh, no! How old do you have to be to retire? 65? She is something like that..."

I recognized myself within his teacher. Possibly someone who has been in her job (at least) one year too long. She is looking for ways to 'shake things up' a little. She could be bored. She could be frustrated. Maybe she wants to make an impact on her way out. I don't really know. I just know that I had a Bad Daycare Moment yesterday afternoon after one good, solid week of Good Days. And I felt like a crotchety old woman ready for retirement...

I don't want to be one of those people who is just doing-what-it-takes to make it through until my retirement years (otherwise known as 'until I die'). I don't want to make life rough on those around me because I am questioning where-I-am-at.

I can relate to this retiring teacher.

I am all over the map. I am spinning my wheels and going nowhere except where I have to go. Yet at the same time, I am chasing dreams and following my whims. I have my hands in so many 'pots' that I question if I am doing any one thing well.

I have my own history essay project. As I listened to My Son ranting and raving about all of the expectations that his teacher added on at the last moment, making it seem as though the 'meat' of the assignment was getting lost in formatting, citing quotations and a myriad of other technical expectations, I could not help but compare what he is going through to my own Family History Project.

He knew what he had to do to get the job done. He is placing his energy on where he will get the most marks for having completed the job.

My only suggestion was to just plow through the tough part, focus on completing the project and then come back and fine tune it later.

He walked out of the room, went back to his assignment, turned on some music that pushed him through the blockage ...

When I checked in with him before I went to bed he was in the home stretch. He had met the 'page length' requirement. He had answered all of the questions. He had met the formatting requirements. He just had to wind it all up in his conclusion. He may or may not have skimmed over the citing your sources requirement.

He did it. He got to the end.

He is my inspiration. I need to do just what he did. I need to turn on the soundtrack that will push me through the tough moments and get me to the end goal.

If he can do it, I can do it. I just need to unscramble my priorities before I retire this project.

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