This I Believe

Maryanna - Houston, Texas
Entered on February 5, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: work
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Work before Play

As a child I remember my mother looking directly at my eyes, giving me a sympathetic smile and telling me I had to do my work before I was allowed to play. With those few words I would become very upset, and storm off to my room where I would try to secretly engage in some type of play activity, even though I had been instructed to clean my room. My mother, sensing as mothers always do, that I was not completing my room-cleaning task, would come in and scold me. At that point, she no longer spoke with a smile but with serious eyes. Mother would then ensure that I was doing my work by remaining present or participating in the task at hand. This routine continued until I reached the age that knew not to mess with her.

Throughout elementary years and on into my early years in middle school “work before play” was a phrase that was often said in my household and I especially despised hearing it. Although I disliked my mother’s words, it turns out that working before playing has helped me in school and in prioritizing my life. With a large volume of homework most nights of the week and many social opportunities, priorities must be set. I have seen some of my peers and friends struggle juggling the high school academic, social and athletic load. Often I wonder if their parents taught them the valuable lesson I use every day of my life. I believe working before playing is essential to reducing stress in life and being productive.

Working before playing also teaches one good time management. Occasionally I quote this statement at school while talking to friends and most give me the “you have got to be kidding me look”, letting me know they would rather go to a party and then stay up until three in the morning to finish their work . Unfortunately their grades often mirror the lack of time spent studying and their stress levels reflect remorse prior to tests.

I have learned that when I complete the tasks that I least prefer to do, I feel a large amount of satisfaction and relief. This contentment I feel from a job done well is immeasurable. I delight in knowing in my heart that I produced my best work product. I believe in working before playing as a principle that will promote a less stressful life and self-satisfaction. Sometimes work even becomes as pleasurable as play.