For realsies

A Human Being/A Human Doing January 12, 2014

“I am a human being, not a human doing.” Such a trite little New Ageism, probably coined by Stuart Smalley, back before Al Franken became a US Senator.

Actually, I did come across a blurb that encapsulates the sentiment:

 “I am a human being, not a human doing. Don’t equate your self-worth with how well you do things in life. You aren’t what you do. If you are what you do, then when you don’t…you aren’t.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

The To-Do List is, as we all know, never done. NEVER.  What a freaking recipe for disaster. Even if every item were ever crossed off, another five or so would stand up, front and center, to remind us of our basic, gnawing,  inadequacy.   Sweet.

I have a colleague who writes stuff down and shoves it in his pocket, a sort of deconstructed to-do list.  There is a certain genius in this, I think, not because it is foolproof and he will never forget something, but because he WILL.  There is space for a human being to accidentally wash away the reminder of the human doing when the jeans hit the wash with one pocket uncleared.  Disaster? Hardly.  I, for one, need to remember from time to time that the world is, in fact, NOT going to come crashing to a halt if something on the list slips through the cracks.

But what if it’s something important?

Really? Is it? Will it be in a year? Will it result in  someone being deeply hurt by me? Mostly, even seemingly crucial deadlines would, in fact, end up compromising my ego more than anything else. For me, some of my most egregious errors probably were in the following category: I am freaking out and sick to my stomach about the message I am getting that there is no way I can do enough or be good enough at work—and that pain and fear makes me edgy and impatient with my loved ones.  Oh, yeah, priorities straight as an arrow there.  Doing a couple more hours of data recording for my teaching job is going to take care of everything.

What will take care of everything? How the hell do I know? I suspect it has to do with shutting up and letting my son’s words wash over me when I am overwhelmed: “You’re the best Mom ever.”  When I forget, he tells me again.

I was reading something the other day that gently reminded me of the fact that we really are all just a mess and that’s okay and no one knows how the hell we’re going to traverse the next little bit.   So we try to make a little to-do roadmap and it never feels as neat as we think it should.  Because to-do keeps on collecting, tenacious, like dust.

“You’re the best mom ever.”  It is super shiny, every time! No to-do attached! What a relief.







The Healing Power of Chocolate Crinkles December 19, 2012

Filed under: food,life,school,spirituality,teaching,Uncategorized — peachyteachy @ 6:59 pm

I have attempted to start a post a few times over this past several days.  Things don’t feel cohesive, I can’t sum anything up, and I can’t launch into some foray into a topic that doesn’t embody the fact that I am a teacher in an elementary school, a mom of an eight-year-old (who has been sicker than a dog for over a week), and the partner of a man who lost a brother two days ago.

I have been trying to help my class to be good to each other; better to each other.  It’s not happening. I want us to have some kind of pleasant approach to the holiday season, especially since many of them do not have opulent celebrations at home.  It is rough when they are being nasty to one another, and to me.

It is a strange dichotomy to be contemplating where one would hide the students if faced with the presence of an intruder, while the students are threatening, harassing, bullying one another at every turn. It’s hard not to feel guilty when you love them, but often don’t like them a lot. We discussed the events in Newtown quite minimally, as I hoped to steer kids toward discussion with their families.  As a parent, I prefer to be the one who has the primary voice in such conversations.

On Monday, one of my kids mimed gun action in the hallway, complete with putting individuals in his sights (including me) before making sound effects. He claimed “video game.”

Sometimes, writing is therapeutic. Sometimes, baking is.  Tonight, I made some Chocolate Crinkles.  Peppermint MeltAways are on deck. I feel a little bit better. My kid went back to school today and doesn’t have a fever.  Grateful for that every moment. There is a sort-of-straight tree with lights on it in the living room.  Things are starting to feel connected.  I can’t categorize my post as “humor.”

Lately, hugs have been standing in for words around here.


Passing on Vacation Bible School July 26, 2012

Filed under: family,humor,parenting,school,spirituality,Uncategorized — peachyteachy @ 3:32 pm
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I read a hilarious  blog post by Snarky in the Suburbs this week–When Vacation Bible School Turns Bad. It’s like, two years old and I couldn’t be happier that she reposted it.  Well, except for the fact that it threw me into a low level existential crisis.

See, I attended Vacation Bible School, several times.  More on that later. Snarky, on the other hand, has been recruited to teach it.  The fact that I am not affiliated with a specific denomination at this point in my life may have something to do with this distinction between our experiences.  And the God of any religion knows that I am not asking for that job. I am active in a spiritual community of sorts, but we are far more inclusive than exclusive.  I call my affiliation Christian Plus.  At a certain point, for me, God got too big to fit on one pathway.

My mom sent me to VBS at the Baptist Church. This was curious mostly because we were not Baptist, but Presbyterian–a lot less fiery (my mother was actually allergic to pepper).  I realize, thanks to Snarky, that I was sent there mostly because summer vacation is just too darn long.  Perhaps mom also hoped that some of that “don’t be naughty or you might burn in hell” finger wagging might rub off on me in my upcoming teenage years. Sorry, mom.

I don’t really remember much from hanging out with the Baptists.  I did win a jazzy Bible by memorizing twenty-seven verses—not the popular ones, either.  I have no idea what they were; I didn’t meditate on them, I memorized them.  This helped me to excel in theater in high school, which in turn cemented my place socially as  persona non grata.  That, and my co-founding of the CSDACP (see The Sanctity of the Spud ).

I do have a vivid memory of the weirdness of sitting in the pews and having the pastor strongly suggest that, if we did, in fact, love the Lord, we could and would come forward right then and there to be saved, reborn, etc. It just didn’t sit right.  I already felt naturally connected to God, who had provided a fair amount of comfort to a painfully shy young girl without the right hair, clothes, or toys to have the kind of good time fun that was being had by those girls on the Easy Bake commercials.

Recently, my youngest son struck up conversation with some neighbor kids across the street. They stay at their house, and aren’t allowed to venture out in the neighborhood.  My son LIVES to make new friends, and he was super excited about these newest ones.  A few days later, he came to me on the verge of tears to tell me that the kids were not allowed to play with him.  The kids had asked him if he knew the Lord, and if he had been saved.  For me, this was not great PR for Vacation Bible School.

Had he mentioned Harry Potter? Referred to his knowledge of mythological gods? The kid is one of the most spiritually wise people I know. All I could do was to remind him about what we do believe: that we are supposed to try to be good to everyone, and that everyone has their own way to experience their connection to spirit, whatever the name and tradition.  But that not everyone believes that.  I’m just glad he’s not going to VBS!


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