Everything has an appointed season, and there is a time for every matter under the heaven.
As I looked out my office window this morning, I noticed the leaves on the trees changing color (finally). Here in North Carolina, I still have trouble synchronizing time and the seasons. As a “northerner,” I expected to see leaves change color in September and October, and in November, the trees would be empty. In North Carolina, the time line is a bit different: September is still summer, October things begin to cool off, and when we get to November, the leaves really change color and start to fall. While this timing is out of sync with my expectations, it is nature following North Carolina’s timeline.
So it is with many things in life: the timing we expect is not always the timing that the world follows. Babies are rarely if ever born on their due dates. Children grow and develop at their own pace and on their own timeline. We can set expectations, and talk about typical child development; however, every child progresses at their own pace and in their own time. Rushing them is tempting, but rarely has the desired effect. In fact, research has shown that trying to hurry a child through the process of learning to read often causes further delays in achieving reading proficiency.
As a parent, I often catch myself doing battle with time. I rush to get my children ready in the morning, and then I rush to get to work and school on time. When we get home, I rush to get “all the things” done before bedtime: homework, dinner, showers, and bedtime routines. Then, I start to see how many things I can get done before my own bedtime: dishes, laundry, dog-walking, scooping the litter box, and paying bills.
It is hard to stop being busy, but I have found that for the betterment of my children, my faculty and staff, and our students, sometimes we have to MAKE time. While we can’t actually manufacture time, we can choose to spend our time, our most limited resource, on things that really matter. I make time to give hugs and kiss my children’s boo-boos. I make time to listen to my children at bedtime (those dishes can wait). I make time to visit our classrooms and watch our students and teachers in their natural habitat. I make time to sit with students and read together. I make time to sit with a teacher at the end of a long day to talk about their class and their needs.
As an educator and a parent, I have learned to be patient and to spend time on things that really matter to me and the people around me. As we turn back the clocks this weekend and “gain” an hour on Sunday, I encourage you to think about how you use your time, because time is limited and we need to spend it on things that truly matter.
Head of School
Click here to read more Lerner blog posts.