By Tami Chaney. 4th Grade Math. Published at Monday, November 16th, 2020 - 03:16:02 AM.
Holding On Its 11am and Im in my pajamas in my home office, trusty dog by my side, eating last nights Chinese off a wilted paper plate, baring my soul to thousands of strangers Im never going to meet on my mental health blog, strangers who are never going to think of leaving a comment despite all my soul-bearing posts. Still, writing is what Ive dreamed of doing for a living since the 4th grade. Its all thanks to my 4th grade teacher, Ellen Hillman (I include her whole name in case shes reading, you never know). She saw merit in my 4th grade stories and asked if she could read them to the class during our Friday reading circle. I recall my first thought like it was yesterday: but what if the class doesnt like them? To my amazement my friends enjoyed my unpolished efforts, and applauded my work. The class gasped when Mrs. Hillman revealed I had written the story-gasped! My little soul ablaze with hope. Maybe I was onto something here, something I could actually succeed at! Thanks to one teachers encouragement, Ive been writing, completely unschooled and rouge for a very long time. While working from home in your comfy p.j.s while being your most expressive, creative self may not sound like heaven to others, it is for me. Pure heaven on earth. Had I not continued to fiercely hold onto that dream over the years (the dream of making readers gasp), I might have found myself working in a high-rise, rat-maze cubical office, bitching about the watered-down coffee and impossible copy machine. Instead, Im my own boss, eating Chinese at 11am in my jammies-cozy and comfortable at home, doing what I do best, which is baring my soul. I believe holding onto your dreams is crucial to achieving deep contentment in life. What was it you wanted to be or do in 4th grade? How about when you were a teen or young adult, just getting a start in the world? What did you know you could be and do before the world told you you couldnt? The majority of people who love what they do, who relish every minute of their workday and who are living their passion will tell you they held onto their dreams for a long time before they succeeded the way they first envisioned. Success doesnt just happen, and it certainly doesnt happen overnight. Gone are the days where you could go to a corner soda shop in Hollywood, hang out and be "discovered." Due to the internet, the world is much larger nowadays, and competitions much steeper. However, your competition may be lacking in one crucial ingredient that you have, the one element that can set you apart from the rabid pack, and that is a prevailing persistence, complimented by a sprinkling of patience. Success will require that you master the art of determination.
This was one of the Ah-ha! moments of my life. If these children could not take apart and put together concrete objects as basic as simple inset puzzles, how on earth could they take apart and put together abstractions, such as letters and sounds. Our classroom changed. I kept those opened puzzles in the classroom, and I bought more simple inset puzzles for my students, as well as easy interlocking puzzles with only a few pieces. The students became adept at taking these puzzles apart, then putting them together again to create a predetermined whole. I bought blocks for the classroom, which they put together, then took apart, then put together again in different ways, creating a wide range of things, similar to what we do with letters when sounding out words.
Since the recession of 2008, there has been a new global war taking form. If you were to query the billions that live on our planet what is the #1 thing they all want from their government leaders, the answer would be an economy that provided good jobs. Everyone in the world wants a good job. Today, the war for jobs around the globe has trumped all other leadership activities. If countries fail at creating jobs, their societies fall apart. Countries, and cities will experience suffering, chaos, and eventual revolution. This is the new world that leaders confront. This can be seen as much at city level as it is at the country level. Look at post-recession Detroit, MI; or Cleveland, OH.
Ive had this, albeit small list, in my mind my whole life, a kind of master to do list and here I was crossing off another thing from the list. First the bakery, then committing to run a ½ marathon and now Ive found Elizabeth. It seems like the older I get, the more things I seem to be checking off that master list, and that got me wondering if that is what happens when we got older. What if our entire life is made up of this list and you just go through life clicking things off that list. But then I thought, what happens when you get to the end of your list? Is it Hello Pearly Gates, if youre lucky? Or if you dont check off everything off your list and make all the necessary amends is it then "Wow its hot down here, this cant be right"?
Today I dont pretend as much as I used to. I try really hard to be honest with myself and other people. When I find myself slipping back into that weaker part of me (and I do), the "pleaser" part of me, I have to remind myself Im not here to please others, to look good, or to impress people. When Im overly worried about being judged or losing someones love or admiration, it makes it difficult to be real. I also have to keep reminding myself that the purpose of life is not to insulate myself. Im not here to build a cushiony life so I can escape from reality. The point of being given a life is so I can live in it! And that means getting really messy in relationships if need be, in order to work through problems. So we can keep growing, well have to get used to heaping doses of reality.
My daughters went to two different elementary schools due to a move. One of the schools was 1st-3rd grade on one side of the property and 4th and 5th grade on the other side of the property with two completely different playgrounds. Prior to 4th grade beginning we made a point of visiting the school and exploring the "other side." Junior high school and senior high school both offer larger campuses with the changing of classrooms every hour throughout the day. Thankfully, here in my town, both schools offer the kids their schedules at least a week before school starts. We can then walk their schedule many times to make sure they are comfortable and they can remember the order of their classes. Often, the kids who had not pre-visited were late to classes the first week, couldnt find classrooms, and were generally much more stressed than the kids who made those pre-visits and were comfortable with where they were going.
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