Tuesday, September 27, 2011

To Do All That We Can

For Monday, September 26, 2011

Our conversation was not a long one as we were packing up our things and heading to lunch. Feeling tired after having taught three classes in a row, I found myself sighing and admitted to one of my students, a sweet girl named Beth who I have known for three years, that I felt overwhelmed by everything on my "To Do" list. She stopped and looked at me and said, “I know how you feel”. We talked about our responsibilities and our after school activities. I had correcting to do and she had homework to do as well as some fund raising duties and college essays, and we would both be tied to attending practices and games. Managing our time is a challenge and yet we both expressed that we knew we would somehow manage to get everything done.

Later in the day, when I went to pick up my daughter Emma, she and I also fell into a conversation about managing our "To Do" list. As with Beth, she mentioned how her schedule would hopefully lighten up a little in a few weeks’ time and how she too was growing weary with everything she has on her plate.

These two conversations got me thinking of how important I believe it is that we adults show our children our own struggles with responsibilities and time management. Although it is crucial that we give our children a safe and secure environment, I do not see it as a weakness that I sometimes falter and become overwhelmed. Whether it is the added burden of illness or my tendency to take on more than I can handle at times, having young people see our strategies in regrouping or in taking time to express our feelings is healthy.

Several years ago my aunt heard from my mother all that I was doing in my life. I was teaching full time, raising three children, and actively participating in a writing group as well as performing with community theater. “I don’t know how she does it all”, my aunt told my Mom. At the time I laughed. But today I am not laughing. I am feeling overwhelmed by life and I am thinking I have too much on my plate. I am in need of developing a strategy to lighten my load so I can feel greater happiness. But if there is one thing I feel confident about in terms of my stress, it is that sharing how I am processing that stress, how I am managing my time and thinking through my responsibilities, is the right thing to do with a few young people who are going through the same thing in their lives.

I probably will never be the teacher or the mom who could always do it all. But I surely hope my students and my children will know and learn the importance of being open, honest and true in one’s journey, in one's struggles to do all that we can.

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