Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Forcing the Issue, Sort Of

Once the weekend is over, it’s back to our regular routine, and that means academics. This means that I have to do battle with the kids to do their school work, and it isn’t always easy. For the most part they do their work without too much of a fight, and there are even those wonderful days when they do their work without me even having to say anything - I love when that happens. Unfortunately, those moments are not the norm.

In general, the kids are resistant to doing school work, and on the one hand, I understand, but on some level I think they enjoy it. I know how crazy this sounds, but there is something magical about that moment of understanding when you are learning something or trying to solve a problem. It’s as if at that moment, life suddenly makes sense, and it is very satisfying. I know the kids experience this all the time, but it still does not inspire them to do their work. It’s still work, and they’ve convinced themselves that they hate it, especially N. A tends to be more inspired, but N is all about resistance, even in lieu of the fact that resistance is futile.

Which brings me to some important points. In life, sometimes you have to do things that you don’t want to, and that just because they are not always fun, you don’t quit or walk away, or even worse, don’t even try. Plus, in many instances, and we’ve all been through this, you have to be forced to do things that you enjoy, or things you didn’t know you enjoyed but after doing them, you do. The problem is that it’s too easy to fall back on the path of least resistance, which means routines or doing nothing, even when these choices leave us flat, bored, or uninspired. It’s like watching TV, you may not like it, and you may realize that it’s not the best thing for you, but you can’t help but indulge. It’s too darn easy.

I think with the kids, they’re young enough to where they don’t have a lot of life experiences, and you can’t force them to like or dislike something. As a parent, however, you can be the one to introduce them to things and let them decide. That’s the only way, because without that, they wouldn’t try anything that takes work and motivation. In terms of school work, there are subjects that the kids do like, but it’s important to help them find their way. That’s a parent’s job, right?

There are in fact beautiful moments when N does a great job on his own, and even does extra work because he likes it. Yes, it’s been known to happen, especially with math. He’s even said he loves math, even if he puts up a fight when he has to do it. I’m not taking that for granted, I’ll take what I can get.

Either way, I’ve found that as an adult, and I don’t think I’m alone on this one, it’s much easier to sit back and let the world happen around me. This is fine if that’s what I want, but if I have any inclination for something more, than it takes a bit of work and discomfort, namely getting out of comfort zone. When I spend all my time avoiding new and uncomfortable situations, I find that I stop challenging myself and my brain goes soft. I start to anticipate the predictable, and if anything, become dependent on it. There's nothing like trying new (hockey, training to be a real man, parenting) things to shake up the system and invigorate oneself.

This is the beauty of living in New England, the shifting seasons and the New England ethos are all about changing and adapting to the different times of the year. Sure, you can find routine in all of that, but each year brings something new, and there is something revitalizing about the changes that occur with each passing season. I love it, and they really celebrate it up here. Another great area where this happens is with travel, and again, sometimes you have to force the issue to come a new and better person on the other side.

Okay, I’ve lost my train of thought (finally). Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to KimmerKC for the pic.

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