The fine art of worrying

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My Dad taught me a lot of things, but one of the things that he said so often that it became a sort of mantra for me, is ” There is nothing to fear but fear itself”. Someone famous said this before him. (Roosevelt?) Now in middle age, I finally get it. You can worry all day long every day, but the thing that you worry about will not most likely be the thing that goes wrong!!!

Case in point:
Son no. 1 is on the phone for the last 24 hours working towards a very important deadline that involves using a program he doesn’t know to complete an” art test” for a job that he is very much in the running for and would like to get offered. Simultaneously, a second job that he also really wants and has practically nailed tells him at 1:00 that they want to do a Skype interview with him at 5:00. He has not had a haircut in 4 months, he has not slept in 24 hours, and he has no clean clothes. 800 miles away or so, there is not much I can do to help. I tell him not to worry about his pants as they won’t see them, to put product in his hair and comb it back, and I encourage him to keep eating to keep his energy up. So, I spend the next 24 hours sort of tuned in like a tuning fork….he calls elated this morning to report that even though he couldn’t think of many questions in the Skype interview, he thinks he is still a contender because they are asking for more info about his reel. He calls again several hours later to report that he just did another interview with a third company that went well. But he can’t talk for long, because the dreaded art test is due now in 8 hours.

At 5:00, I meet my daughter who gets dropped off with me at a gas station. As we pull out, she informs me that she got thrown off the pony today and her head still hurts. She explains matter of factly how she was checked for a concussion with help from google, and she is fine. She had a helmet on.

So once again, I was worrying about the wrong thing.

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Organic School

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Teens working on Shakespeare scenes

I have stepped in to help….coordinate?……teach?…a weekly homeschool learning center sort of thing for teens. Near the end of it’s first year of operation, it has consistently attracted about 10 teens to each quarterly session. This is a pretty good number considering our relatively rural setting. The difficult moments of realizing that we are asking the teens to do things outside their comfort zone are balanced by the “Ah ha” moments when they do not want to break for lunch because we are still discussing ( arguing?) about something that came up in “class”. Now, we are abandoning the social studies premise for “class” in favor of sheer discussion. This should help set them up to work with a writer friend next Fall when she teaches them basic essay writing. After all, the real trick is to have ideas that one is compelled to convey. It is not so difficult to learn to convey them!

And just to be perfectly honest, at least 3 of the ten teens dropped out of the Shakespeare scenes class pictured above….again, outside of their comfort zone, especially the comfort zone of those with reading difficulties. Imagine trying to get through a Shakespeare couplet full of unusual words if vowel sounds are still a bit confusing.