Friday, December 28, 2007


True classroom story...  last Thursday, I asked students to "slog" (journal) the topic "New Year's Resolutions".  Tricia's anti-goals post on the Coffee and Critique blog inspired this idea.  Of course, we start by defining and giving examples (about 25% of 7th graders can either define or give examples of this term, according to my unscientific survey).

Next, I gave a personal example of my last year's resolution - I had resolved to NOT stress about cooking dinner.  I used to feel so much anxiety and anger about this on the drive home from work and picking up my daughter from after-school care.  Inevitably, my husband would call me on that drive home and ask the dreaded question.  Most days, I fervently wished for take-out food to magically appear.  On bad days, I would utter some choice expletives to express my feelings.

So the resolution was to NOT stress, but instead be matter-of-fact, calm, and face the task like laundry - no big deal, perfectly manageable.  Even if the outcome was the same, I wanted a new mental state and attitude.  And ... the outcome exceeded my expectations!  I distinctly recall some months of feeling peace and calm entering my kitchen, opening the 'frige and contemplating options, and even rational conversations with husband about what to cook or order.

I didn't expect to become family cook extraordinaire in my in-laws' house, but I did that, too! Before we moved to live with the in-laws in August, I told husband HE would be in charge of family meals.  But in reality, August was still vacation time for me, so of course I cooked.  After school/work started, I was home by 4 and couldn't just sit around waiting with in-laws till 5:30 for husband to arrive home. I cooked dinners based on 'frige contents and/or shopped accordingly on weekends, and I whipped up easy meals that impressed everyone (they are easy to impress - even a simple green bean casserole with cream of mushroom soup elicited "delicious!" comments).

The highlight of this cooking adventure - 2 days ago, I made chicken and vegetable soup from scratch for father-in-law!  Eating has been a problem for him - he's not interested in eating (hospital food especially), so someone has to closely monitor meals and literally feed him as many spoonfuls as he's willing to take.  My soup was super yummy, and he really liked it.

So all this hits me as I explain last year's resolution.  I state a few new 2008 resolutions - exercise more (start running), shop less (reduce credit card debt - but I didn't say that to students - too much info).  Important - clarify the difference between a resolution (as a goal) and a wish.  Student slog responses focused on sports and academics.

Moral of the story - set your intentions!  Powerful stuff.


Teacher -n- Training said...

As I've booked next year's cruise already - my resolution is to lose 40 lbs by December. I'm starting in increments of 10. Good luck on yours!

Tricia Grissom said...

I know what you mean about dinner. I teach at night and stress about making stuff before I have to leave at 5:00 p.m.

I have come to worship my crock pot.