Tuesday morning I was at home waking up in my own bed and making coffee in my kitchen – for the first time in two weeks. It felt awkward because Ivy was not with me, but it was early, still, and quiet. After we unloaded the car Monday night, I told William to sleep until he woke up and he came downstairs at eight complaining he was tired. I told him to go back to bed, so he did. He was up within the hour working on his chores – cleaning the tent and putting away our camping gear.
We came home for one day and two nights for one reason or rather two meetings. I had a meeting with the grade level language arts teachers at my school and William had a scout meeting to attend. My meeting was important because I am new to teaching a full load of language arts and William’s was important because there are only a few meetings each summer and he is working on developing his leadership skills. It looked to be a busy day with meetings, errands, and hopefully, a chiropractor visit.Teaching language arts last year was difficult; it was new, I did not know the curriculum well, and my comfort level had not developed. I had taught geography the past five years and the change through my routine off. In addition, the school schedule changed as well; it changed from a day with ten 39-minute class periods to nine 49-minute class periods and the language arts became a two period block – 100 minutes long. 100 minutes is a long time to be in one class for a twelve to thirteen year old boy, or girl for that matter. All that resulted in a miserable year and led to me counting the days down at the end of the year. As I writing this post, I discovered a quote:
“Do not count the days; make the days count.” Muhammad Ali
It is the same idea I have used to develop this blog; and it is what I have been writing about since school ended, only I did not know it was Ali’s quote.
The purpose of the language arts meeting was to plan the first unit of the year – fiction and paragraph writing. It leads to the development of writing the narrative or personal essay. These blog entries have been similar to what I my students to write. A story about a small event in their lives and how that event taught them a lesson. The lesson I have in mind for my blog is that in some way each day has meaning and that it counts. Today is day 46 and there are 36 remaining, so far each has counted. My goal is to make the remaining days count and be as significant as the days before it. The meeting went quickly and I felt like I had a better handle on this year than I did last year, but I had a lot going on last year and at this point in the summer of ’09, school was out of focus.
After the meeting, I went to the bookstore to get Knuckleheads and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Personal Workbook and came home. William was working on his scholarship essay; and had cleaned the tents and stored the camping gear, just as he was asked to do. We had three more errands: the post office for our mail, another bookstore, and the scout store. In addition, I hoped to work in a chiropractor appointment.
The errands and the chiropractor appointment combined with the events of the past two or three days to wear me out and I was tired. I lay down and asked William to get me at ten to seven so we could make the scout meeting, on time.
Summer scout meetings are relaxed with fewer scouts attending. It makes for a smoother meeting and we had kickball on the agenda with the John conducting a couple of scoutmaster conferences to help scouts with rank advancement and boards of review being held. In order for scouts to advance in rank, they must demonstrate skills and achievements as well as have a scoutmaster conference and a final board of review run by the advancement coordinator and parents from the troop. William had accomplished all of the requirements for the Star Scout rank and needed both. I am impressed with his drive and desire to achieve in Boy Scouts. In my scout career: I attained Second Class Scout rank, earned five merit badges, and had swum the mile. William has surpassed me, and then some. In fact, I am impressed with many of the scouts as they grow. William has been a scout since first grade beginning in cub scouts. He became a boy scout and crossed over in fifth grade, a scant sixteen months ago. He and his group of scouts are all beginning to develop into leaders, some quicker than others. I have to remember another quote and apply it to scouts as well as to my teaching of language arts.
“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” Muhammad Ali[Cassius Clay] (born 1942); Boxer
Meaning that we spend a great deal of time worrying about the small things that annoy us and we do not take the time to appreciate the wonderful things that go on around us – namely the growth of our kids, students, and scoutsThe day counted, far more than I gave it credit for; I was tired and had a long drive back to the cottage in the morning staring me in the face. Five weeks, or thirty-five days, remain of my summer vacation. Tomorrow looks to be a million and six times better, so I will jump in, jump out, and seize the day. Carpe diem.