From my perspective, it seems that life has begun to move in fast forward. Other people in my life have told me in the past about this phenomena, but I have only recently begun to experience it. What is it about getting to an advanced age that causes the change in perception? Is it that you stop wishing for next week? Or next year? Is it that we have nothing to look forward to? Or is it simply that you begin to get bogged down in the everydayness of life and loose sight of the simple things that makes life enjoyable?
My assertion is that it is the latter. Its easy for me to get wrapped up in work and school that I forget to enjoy my kids talking to me about orchestra tryouts or a video game coming out soon. I am taking on more responsibilities in my classroom, in my building, and in the school district. All while I have recently started back to school. It doesn't seem like I had too much free time last year, so where did I get them time/energy to do the things I have added to teaching a full load of classes? Yes, you guessed it: I get that time from my family.
I am going to have to be really careful because my family is at a crucial point in our relationship: Jess, my oldest, is a junior this year and is involved in student government and AP classes. JC is a sophomore and is beginning to get into classes that require much more of his time than what he has been accustomed to in the past. If I begin to stop listening or appear busy when they want to talk or if I don't make time to have one on one experiences with them, what motivation will the two of them have to come and spend time with us when they leave home in the next few years? Think about when you were in college: did you want to go back home to see your parents during breaks? Or would you rather have stayed away with your friends? Mindful. I must be mindful. Mindful of what I do, what I say, and how I react.
Do not misunderstand, I take on my responsibilities willingly, but I am realizing there are ramifications to my actions. Amazing that it took this long in my life to realize that, right? I just want to take a second to remind myself what the consequences may look like.
I am enjoying work more now than at any other time in my life. I am being challenged in so many areas. This is my 3rd year of teaching which is mind boggling that its already been 2 years since graduation. My students are constantly challenging me with questions, problems, life issues, and everything else that goes along with being a part of 75 adolescent human being's lives. Technology has begun to take a larger role in my picture of what my teaching looks like. I'm not doing anything differently than what I was doing last year, but it seems that teachers are looking more to me for assistance and guidance in technology usage in their classrooms. That's totally new for me. I don't always see myself as a leader or innovator, but it seems that is what I am beginning to look like.
As I sit here writing this, avoiding writing a paper/presentation for class, avoiding grading (which is normal on the weekends), thinking about time management, I realize that I have to enjoy the small things for what they are: a quick break from "the grind". A chance to take a second to let my son and daughter know they are the most important students with whom I have contact. A chance to spent and hour one on one with my wife, eating lunch at our Friday lunch place, just talking about whatever and enjoying each other's company. These are the times of life that are important. The times that bring me joy. The times that will make the biggest impact on my family.
I hope you will stop and ask yourself: "What is important in my life?" Whatever the answer is, be sure to enjoy those important times. They surely won't last forever.