Dozer, the bulldog

Dozer, the bulldog
Dozer: He was the best dog on the planet.

Bonding

Bonding
The author of Mark's Work with Ellie Mae

Guess who's coming for dinner

Guess who's coming for dinner
Blue heron, sitting on the dock of our pond

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.
Air-borne bees

BFF's forever

BFF's forever
Margie and Ellie Mae

Tomatoes and peppers are us.

Tomatoes and peppers are us.
Spicy salsa with roasted peppers, here at HappyDay Farms

Much love, John-Bryan

Much love, John-Bryan
Eric at 26 on the left, and John-Bryan in January of 1973.

Halloween fun

Halloween fun
SmallBoy and Dancing Girl

Our house

Our house
The snow season approaches...

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

bellspringsmark@gmail.com

Friday, February 3, 2012

Let it Go

Let it Go
I attended a school district inservice about ten years ago, in which the instructor began the event by presenting the concept of “Let it go.”  He asked us to consider the myriad of possibilities that occur daily, that annoy us.  Many of those items are unavoidable, and yet we let them gnaw at us.  He asked us to take our hands and place them in front of our chests, and push them together, palms pressing against one another, and simply thrust our arms outward, while expelling the words, “Let it go.”
In this literal manner, he was asking us to tackle these irritating daily occurrences head-on, and demonstrate it with the two-handed gesture.  Our middle school staff adopted this symbolic symbol of acceptance, employing it regularly during the course of the remainder of the school year.  Whenever things got tense, or complicated, someone would break the mood with the sign, and the rest would follow suit.  We found it very effective as a tool for admitting that something was complex, and letting go the stress, without abandoning the project.
Three little words.  No, not those three, but “Let it go.”  So much happens arounds the house, on a daily basis, that would be better if simply ignored.  In some homes it might be the presence of a ring on the table, where a coaster was obviously missing in action, or it might be the presence of the dirty cup itself.  Nonetheless, you’ve seen it there a hundred times before, and you fear you’ll see it a hundred more times, just like the pile of discarded clothes on the bathroom floor.
Of course, in a perfect world, these bad habits will not have been allowed to develop in the first place, but my world is not perfect, and neither, I fear, is yours.  Therefore, it is imperative that we recognize that, and act accordingly.  Bad habits can be corrected, but it does not require that we blow a head gasket doing so.  Part of the process is accepting the fact that there are going to be obstacles in the way of perfection, and not the ones you keep tripping over.
No, the obstacles have more to do with how consistent we are as parents.  Do we model the expected behavior?  Are our expectations realistic?  All of this gets jumbled together, and out of the resulting morass is a pattern of behavior.  Knowing this in advance, allows us to see that when things do not go optimally, we do ourselves a service by being able to accept that fact.
Note, I am not suggesting that we pick up after our kids, in order to retain our good spirits, only that we not be too hard, on either them or ourselves, when the pile-ups occur.  And of course, I didn’t even mention the things that we find it advantageous to accept about our spouses, in the same spirit of acceptance.
“Let it go.”  It’s sound advice, because, if you let it go, voluntarily, then it’s less likely to sneak up and bite you in the backside.

11 comments:

  1. You know you would think that in light of what has happened in my life lately, my attitude would have just naturally changed toward not sweating the small stuff. And mostly it has. But, after spending two hours on my hands and knees washing Rico's footprints off of my beautiful hardwood floors, which I have waited years to finally have installed, and then watching the dog watch me, just waiting for me to finish, walk from the front of the house using his favorite pathway, which I have just spent the two hours on my hands and knees washing, to the back of the house, first making a quick stop at his water, asking to be let out, and then let back in, then walk back along that same pathway, which I just spent two hours on my hands and knees washing, leaving those same exact footprints in the exact same places, you would think that in light of what has happened in my life lately, that I would be able to just let it go. Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Let it go - so much easier said than done - I have gotten SO MUCH better at this at work - the amused detachment sign that sits right in front of me helps - I know that things that seem HUGE today will be swept away in a day or a week -- I am even much better at home about a lot of this stuff - makes for a far less stressful life. I don't know how this is happening - why the evolution - perhaps simply that I am paying attention and am learning even in my old age?
    Lynda - tell you what - why don't you just come to my house and scrub the hardwood floors - I'll keep the puppy dogs in the kitchen and you can be happy with your work :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lynda: dogs, kids, the ashes in the wood-stoves, the snow which won't quit falling, fill-in-the-blank. I hear you so loud and clear. The wood floors sound awfully nice, though. Maybe we can take some of those mismatched socks from Michelle's site, and encase Rico's paws in them; then he can polish, instead of spoilish. (See, when we write, we are allowed to make up new words as we go along.)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Adopting good habits, like "letting go," takes just as much time and perseverance, as dropping bad habits, like eating too many refined carbohydrates. Doable, but bound to have falls. If you can master the art at school, then it's a given that you can master it at home, because you are the only boss at home. Lighten up, JT, and give yourself a break. Thanks for your thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Timely for me, Mark. Our oldest son and his wife have moved in with us for a couple of months. I thought the days of me picking up after children were over! I need to "let it go" and enjoy them while they're there!

    ReplyDelete
  6. All right Judy. That's what I'm saying/talking about. Do they play the board-game, Apples to Apples? That there's some fun. Takes about sixty seconds top learn the rules.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Let it go is right! It is a daily mantra for me and, usually, works pretty well.

    and hey, thanks for the photo of the braids! I like them!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Growing facial hair is over-rated. I used to have a flaming red beard, but now it is-you guessed it-various shades of gray. Thanks for the compliment.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Boy, did I need to hear this message today. Most people think I am so laid back, jolly, carefree even. Hah! Some days I'm better than others at letting go, but it's advice I can never hear too often.
    I like the physical palms & arms movement, too. Thanks, Mark!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think teachers need to be able to let it go, more than any other profession. I like the arm movement too. Makes me feel there is substance to the whole concept.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm with everyone else on this one--letting it go is one of those things I know is healthy, but that I haven't yet gotten the hang of with any consistency. I like the idea of the physical act of pushing it away--it sounds like an effective tangible reminder.

    ReplyDelete