I learned something today. Monday mornings experiments have a lot of obstacles and therefore are bound to have mixed results. It started off well. My first meaningful experience came as my alarm went off at 6 am. I remembered parts of a very intriguing dream about a sports camp that was being held in a huge building that had sky for a ceiling and the walls were the world. It was more about the feeling of fighting of some vague just cause and the beauty of the place than any details I could put into words. Then I got up at 6:30. I got into the shower groggy and resigned to a long day, but then I remembered my experiment and decided to make this one of my mindful times. I started to sing quietly so as not to wake Mary. I sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Runaway”, and then just stood with hot water flowing over me and feeling grateful. And as I stepped out I thought of hot coffee brewing and that completed a deep feeling of gratitude.
My next moment was at 7:30 as I fixed coffee for Mary, and thought of how this little thing will give her a little extra time to ready herself for her first day of college chemistry. I went to check in with her and left for work in a pretty good mood.
At 8:45 I was driving from my classroom site to the main office to do (god forbid) data entry, which entails me dragging a 50 lb file box with 17 of my family files, each holding much information that I must transfer from forms to computer while listening to coordinators telling me that it is all important. I was singing loudly to some stomping blues on the radio. Some old gravel voice bluesman doing an acoustic version of “Rollin’ in My Sweet Babies Arms” (or is that “Baby Zarms”). I was really in that moment.
At 9:45 I was deep in a data funk. When I hit on the Idea of visualizing each child and their family as I worked on their file. All the little details I could conjure up. I realized that I already have a pretty clear picture of many of my families.
By 11:08 I had had enough and I took a walk around the block to the creek that runs through our town. I found a waterfall that I had not been to before. I just listened to falling water for 10 minutes. Then back to the piles of files.
By 12:00 I was toast and had lost my ability to look for meaning. Our glorious leader greeted me in hallway and asked me, “How are you doing.”
“Paperwork,” I grunted.
“Oh, yeah.” she said, “I know what you mean.”
The rest of the day was a battle of endurance. I completely lost my focus on the experiment. By the end of the day I was dragging and defeated and limped home. Oh well Mondays are like that sometimes. Tomorrow all the children come to liven up the place and make me forget about the paper and data and talking about it. Tomorrow we do the work that has meaning without effort on my part. It just is, and it is all meaningful. Children live their lives with meaning wherever they are. It is all important to them. So I have to pay attention all the time. Adults are some much more about statistics, planning, and outcomes. Children are all about being in the moment, now. I do my planning so that I can enjoy being there with them.