Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Looking beyond the "now"

Life as a high school teacher is full of urgency. Phones ringing in the middle of class that must be answered now, students who need to use the restroom now, bells are ringing now, and classes must be dealt with now. Unfortunately, I sometimes spend so much time dealing with urgent business, that I neglect those things which are every bit as necessary (sometimes even more), but are not urgent and so can be put off until later.
As an example, I am out of hall passes. I have been out of hall passes for at least two months. It is aggravating because every time a student asks to leave class I have to take the time to find a piece of paper and write one from scratch. Yet, getting new passes couldn’t be easier. All I need to do is go to the supply closet which is downstairs in the office. So why don’t I just do this? Well, it’s because when it is an urgent need, like when a student needs a pass, I remember that I don’t have any, but when I am leaving for the day and passing by the closet, I am concerned with the urgency of getting home to make dinner, or going grocery shopping, and I completely forget about my need for passes. I am so concerned with the “now” that I don’t remember to take two minutes to do something that would save me time and frustration later.
What I’ve realized is that this is more than just a problem with passes, it is a pattern that I have let take hold on my life. I have the worse kind of tunnel vision and because of that, important, needful things that would better my life and the life of those around me just don’t happen.
Like recycling, something I know is good and important, but never seems very urgent. How many time have I gathered bags of cans or newspapers to recycle only to throw them away a few months later because I never took the time to find a recycling center? Or keeping up with old friends. The ones who I love more than anything, but I always say I will call or write tomorrow.
I didn’t really make any New Year’s resolutions (not urgent enough), but I guess I am now. So here are three short term goals I am going to start with:
1. Pick up passes on the way into school in the morning.
2. Write an email or phone at least four out of town friends a month.
3. Unload my dishwasher when it finishes running instead of waiting until I have dirty dishes to put in it.

Not very earth shattering, I know, but it is a start in the right direction.


Miss Millie said...

I just love you :)

Trena said...

Ok - I always do that too, so don't feel bad. I'm always too concerned with the now, that I don't take the time to prepare for the future. Thanks for this post, it's totally motivating for me!