Listening to: While We’re Young by Jhene Aiko 🎶
You know what five-year-olds are great at doing? Not ever wanting to do what you want them to do. Today, I am talking about routines. Trying to manage kindergartners, I have gotten used to having a structured day, with 29 individual personalities and administrators needing to know where you are, it is just easiest to have schedule and stick to it everyday.
I set my schedule at the beginning of the year, and explain it at back to school night for the parents’ sake. Of course, it is difficult to keep it exactly the same for the entire year, but for the most part, I think I do a pretty good job. (All thanks to my type A personality, I’m sure.) I like to have the parents to be aware of the timing of our schedule so when they plan doctor’s appointments and lunches with grandparents, they will know exactly what time would be better for their child to miss. Plus, rigidity in scheduling is just great for me to keep order in a rather chaotic job.
If I had a dollar for every time a child asked me what time something was, I would be able to subsidize my teacher pay. My favorite response is, “same time it has been all year.”
Kids are the best to use sarcasm with. And I’ll tell you why…because they don’t understand it. Their response to my bratty comment back to their question is always, “oh.” Then they skip away happily repeating my response to their friends. It is great and hilarious and they don’t even know it.
Having strict timing for everything keeps me accountable, keeps the kids knowledgable, and is helpful to everyone around us, why the heck wouldn’t everyone want to plan every detail their lives?
Well because strict schedules are the worst, and here’s why:
- they only work until they don’t.
Yep, another paradox.
Children NEVER do what you want them to do. Haven’t you ever noticed that? Okay, maybe I shouldn’t say NEVER, because…
but rarely can you get five-year-olds to do what you want. Especially 29 of them.
As soon as a child actually wants to stick to the schedule and understands the schedule is the exact moment you need to switch it up. Then, it’s meltdown central.
Uh, Miss Boyer, it’s not time to do math, you FORGOT WRITING!
Why do we have to go to an assembly, it’s read to self time?!
An extra recess?! We aren’t doing MATH?
It is funny and aggravating all in the same. But we must learn to float and work with what we have. So as much as I want to teach my kids to follow a schedule, understand time constraints, and be able to predict their day, I also want them to realize the importance of fluidity and going with the flow.
ALRIGHT, I do it for my sake too.
Having a wrench thrown in my day to offset my schedule makes my type A eye twitch.
So guess how I am doing with the unstructure (yep, made that word up) of summer break? You know what, actually not bad. I am embracing every moment of it. Stress does no one any good. Especially not me. My body is the first to let me know. My health goes south real quick when I am overly stressed. In this case, I am learning that it is okay to not know where I am going to be at every moment. Each summer, I think I get better at this. But then this summer I decided to get a summer job, working on the weekends, for two men, who are less than structured. They are teaching me more about life than they even know.
Each week, you’d think I’d show up to do the same thing, at the same time…
Every weekend, I call them to check in just so I can be sure that we are all on the same page. I don’t mind it, obvs, it calms my mind to put structure and routine to the job.
I like to say it is because it’s two middle-aged, single men running the company, over the fact that I am so rigid, that they are so easy-going. To give you an example, they decided after my first day working, that they would like to hire me on for more responsibility, and I had to set up my own training day. Seriously, I don’t mind these small deeds to help me plan my future…but what happens when a small deed ruins the planning of my future?
Do I throw a fit and meltdown like my kindergartners?
I hope not.
Do I let it ruin my day?
Do I let it change the planning of my future life?
I’m working on it.
When life sets you off track or you are having an off day, what is the most cliche statement you hear?
Look for the silver lining.
What if I don’t want to look for the silver lining? I don’t want second place, just because things aren’t going the way I’d hoped they would. I want to believe that things aren’t going as planned, because there is something better out there that I couldn’t even see for myself. Much like my students being upset I am changing math time, to recess. Or taking away writing for the day to do an art project.
I want first place, I want the golden lining.
They say that the term silver lining comes from looking at the sun behind the clouds, you can see a silver glow, lining the clouds. This is how you know that the sun is just waiting to emerge from the darkness of the storm clouds. That’s all fine and good, but has anyone gone to the Olympics only hoping to take home the silver? I dare you to ask Michael Phelps if he would be just as happy with 26 silver medals, instead of 23 of them being gold. I bet you he will say no.
Then I was looking at the sunset and noticed that yesterday, the lining was golden. The sun was setting, about to be the darkness of night, but a small visual reminder that there can always be a golden lining. There are still chances of being first place in your race of life, even though it seems to be getting darker minute by minute.
As Bianca Olthoff once said,
Run yo’ Race!
& get first place. 🥇
Be kind to yourself when things seem grim. Holding too many expectations only let’s you become disappointed when they don’t pan out.
Be able to let go of your plans and expectations, because something even better might happen. You just have to let life happen sometimes. Because it will all look the same in the rearview mirror.