Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Renewing Hope

Ever have one of those days when everything you do seems to fail? No matter how hard you try, nothing works the way you think it should? You forget to print out the sheets you need for the study on dolphins, so you turn on the computer and wait. And wait because the computer is old and loaded with too much stuff that you’ve been meaning to clean out. And after it’s finally ready, you print out the pages and take them to the kitchen to teach, only to find the pages are unreadable because there’s a wide white line down the middle because your printer is almost out of toner. Shaking the toner cartridge is a lost cause, you’ve been doing that for the past week and it will only work so many times. So you print on the inkjet, which is also almost out of ink, and wait. And wait because inkjets are slow. Meanwhile, the kiddos disappear. You herd them altogether again and begin. But, the kiddos won’t stop shoving the chair between them into each other. They won’t stop making rude noises and they can’t hear you anyway because the baby has decided to go ballistic because you pulled the fingernail clippers out of her sweaty little grasp. You yell, want to bang your head against the wall. Take a deep breath instead, and say a prayer. And move on. Do about an hour of school, then lunch, then send the kids outside with a huge sigh of relief. The baby falls asleep in your arms, so you use it as an excuse to putter on the internet.

A couple of hours later, the outlet you plugged the vacuum into doesn’t work. The little spinning brush on the vacuum’s hand attachment won’t do its spinning thing. And when you pick up the vacuum to put it away, you discover that all the crud it sucked up is sitting under it. Exactly in the middle of the foyer in front of the front door. And you’re expecting your inlaws. And they arrive early.

Yeah, yesterday was one of those days. Not a catastrophic day. I don’t have sewage problems (today). There is electricity, food in the fridge and pantry, toilet paper in the bathroom and clean clothes for my children. This is not a litany of complaints. Yesterday was a good day, a get under your skin and make you question what you’re doing sort of day. It gave me a much needed reminder.

In the overall scheme of things, the little things that went wrong aren’t too important. I could try to combat my failures with better planning, better preparedness, but ultimately the problem was my focus. It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when you put all your energy and concentration on little things that, taken by themselves are really inconsequential. Did it matter if we studied dolphins yesterday? No. Would it matter if we never studied dolphins? No. Will my children be permanently scarred because I yelled at them? No. Did my inlaws notice the pile of dirt? Maybe. Does it matter? Probably not, especially when you consider the pile of dirty dishes waiting to go into the dishwasher, or the full diaper pail needing to be emptied. They know I’m not perfect. If they think I’m a lousy housekeeper, they are polite enough to keep it to themselves.

So, today is an even better day, because I have a better sense of perspective. Yesterday I seemed like a lost cause. Today I have an opportunity to grow.

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