Dozer, the bulldog

Dozer, the bulldog
Dozer: Spring training is upon us!

Rockin' and rollin'

Rockin' and rollin'
The author of Mark's Work

Coleus flowers

Coleus flowers
Why I grow flowers

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.
Air-borne bees

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast
Love is the greatest power.

Beauty abounds!

Beauty abounds!
Heinz tomatoes, used for catsup

If you've seen one butterfly, you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.

If you've seen one butterfly,  you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.
Painted Lady

Fall Jewels

Fall Jewels
Praying mantis, attending services on a zinnia...

My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017

My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017
Something I have always wanted...

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

bellspringsmark@gmail.com

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

No Broken Bats

No Broken Bats
As is so often the case, I take my cue from the sites I visit.  Recently, I paused at Buttered Toast Rocks, and read about schedules, especially the one in the morning.  The morning schedule is crucial because, as goes the morning, often goes the rest of the day, at least here in the country.
I am not going to prattle on about how hard teachers work, or about long hours.  Work happens.  However, it can either flow smoothly, or it can feel as though you are driving on washboard, the pace rattling the teeth in your jaw.  Therefore, it pays to take the time to examine a way to make events flow smoothly, avoiding any conflicts that may threaten to occur.
All the years we taught, Annie’s and my day began at quarter to four, when I brought her coffee in bed.  Forty-five minutes later, as the household still slept, we stormed out the front door for our walk up to Blue Rock, a forty minute round trip.  Upon returning, still in the pre-dawn darkness, Annie would shower first, because she had to dry her hair, and then it was my turn.  I would then get the first boy up for his shower, he got the second one up, and that one rousted the third.  If any one of the boys was slow getting out of bed, the next in line would pounce.  They kept each other on pace, because the last one through was usually on tepid water, so there was incentive.
He who hesitated was lost.  I made it clear that the chariot departed at six-thirty on the nose, and if you weren’t ready, you stayed home.  If you stayed home, the list of required chores was clearly posted, and there was no generator available, so therefore, no entertainment system.  Since Gameboys were not allowed into the house until the youngest was in middle school, that left few options for spending a day by yourself.
Besides the order of operations in the bathroom, the other conflict-producing setting, was the half-hour ride to school, the first half on a dirt road, the second half on the highway.  Annie and I rode in the front of our Trooper, and the three of them rode in the back.  Whose turn was it to sit in the middle?  We went by weeks, with one in the middle for a whole week, and the other two on the windows.  End of discussion.  
We had such a tight framework, that there simply was no time for arguing.  Three sons, born within thirty-eight months of each other, not fight?  Excuse me while I pause a moment to chortle.  However, in our household, violence of every form was decried, including verbal, if you will pardon the pun.  My response to an argument within my hearing, was to assign chores to the responsible miscreants.  You-fill the wood-box; you-wash the car, and if it was a hat trick (or a strike out), the third one would be out gathering kindling off the side of the hill, the consequences being carried out before even homework was attended to, upon our return home.
Consider it a two-fer: Either the the arguing ceased [within my earshot], or the chores got done.  Such a system.  I couldn’t have contrived a better one if my life depended on it.  If not my life, certainly my sanity did, the status of which was clearly dependent on a harmonious domain.  Think of it as, “Play ball with me, or I’ll break the bat over your head, metaphorically speaking.”  That was about as violent as I got: using a literary devise to make a point.
It seemed to work though, which was gratifying, because the only bats around were aluminum, so getting hit over the head with one, would definitely have resulted in a stint on the disabled list of life.

7 comments:

  1. Very impressive. Does the schedule and the way you were able to carry it out with such apparent ease have anything to do with your military training??!

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  2. Thanks for mentioning me! I do the same with our kids, wake one up for the first shower, and then that one wakes up the second. I'm okay with the last shower in this rotation, because luke-warm water doesn't bother me. I would say it's the Mom in me, willing to sacrifice a hot shower so the kids and hubby can have one, but really, I just don't like super hot showers. It's a win-win in this case!

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  3. Judy: All things military were left on the tarmac in Seoul, Korea. No, the schedule thing had to do with efficiency, with the goal of preserving tranquility. As me father used to say, "Let us be happy in our work."

    Michelle: Though I have become drunk with power, I will never forget the "little people" who helped me to the top. :)

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  4. There are things that seem to be taken as "givens" i.e. sibling rivalry, childrens' resistance to work, harried morning routines, etc. that just don't have to be that way. Thank you for this glorious tribute to discipline and efficiency. I don't know when those became bad words, but I am refreshed to read that in some households they are not.

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  5. His efficiency, in part, also came from growing up in a big family in a tiny house.....when those 7 brothers all had to rotate through that one bathroom in the morning, well.... you get the idea. Of course, I, being "Queenie", got the use of the parental unit's bathroom. Did not endear me to my brothers.
    And discipline? again, let's just say that the 'rents were not afraid to be disciplinarians. Oh, no.
    And, Mark and Annie's boys are responsible, creative, and smart young men now -- good guys, all.

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  6. Nothing to contribute on schedules, but I do have to compliment Annie on the quit. Very beautiful.

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  7. Nothing to contribute, Lynda? When Lito told me in a note, at Christmas time, that he loved me, but that he didn't have a gift, I asked him, "What about the gift of your love that you just gave me?" So I say to you, Lynda, besides the compliment, which I have conveyed to Annie, what about the gift of your presence? I appreciate the fact that you stopped by, and that is more than adequate.

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