This I Believe
Life is punctuated by events. We photograph birth, birthdays, religious holidays, first day of school, and graduations. Our years are measured and punctuated by the seasons. However, I believe that the sum of our lives and the sum of what we share with others is daily. Daily repetition and routine seem boring and are largely beneath our radar, but daily routine is where life happens.
The joy of our lives is multiplied as we look for the small pockets of beauty we can find in our environment and the pleasure we find in our families and our work on a daily basis. Our relationships with family, friends, and coworkers is enriched with daily kindness, respect, and a good dose of tolerance. The direction of our health is largely controlled by our genes, but our daily health habits determine the range of our health problems and our experience of good heath and bad.
I am a mother and a teacher who has learned that the impact we have on children is precisely in our daily lives with them. The persons we are, the actions we model, and the joy of living and learning that we demonstrate day by day build children’s value systems and frame their understanding both positively and negatively. Those trips to the zoo, big celebrations, and blockbuster lessons are memorable and add zest to life, but the detail is in the daily. Its the 30 second to 2 minute encounters when your child comes to you with a hurt finger or a small new discovery or a question, that by sheer repetition add up to life experience. In the classroom we learn tools and skills such as math facts and formulas with repetition. The daily routines of forming questions in our minds, researching the information, and recording our findings become life long habits of curiosity and learning. The greatest pleasure in teaching is that every day I learn something new from my students.
After I began writing this our town was hit by Hurricane Ike. For 10 days there was no normal routine in our lives. We couldn’t sleep normally because of heat and anxiety, and when we woke the day held no routine activities of job, household chores, or entertainment. Conversations with friends and strangers revolved almost entirely around stories of having or not having power. We had to plan and think through such mundane tasks as filling the car or getting dinner together. We had six days of school closing, but it didn’t feel like a holiday. It felt like days adrift, and I found myself becoming listless and fatigued. Returning to daily work and routines was a great relief.
I love the fireworks in my life, and I know that the total of my life is sum of its days.
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