As a pre-school teacher, it was impressed upon me how important “structure” is in a child’s life. Schedules were made daily. weekly, monthly, just in case I wasn’t there…You get the picture. I began to think we were over-structuring, and my directors were often pleasantly frustrated by the apparent in-ability to adhere to my own schedule.
My grandfather raised me to be a student of learning. We often had discussions about how the brain functioned, how each individual is a product of their environment, and how the past impacted the behaviors of people we knew, as well as societies. I consider myself his ultimate experiment; each time he learned something new about how the input effected the outcome, he eagerly shared it with my cousins and I. Though I was his Great Experiment, I am overjoyed to say that I know he considered his great grandchildren his Greatest Accomplishment.
It was from this environment that I became a pre-school teacher, so I was prepared for the observations and adjustment suitable to a learning environment. My students taught me as much as I taught them. Structure, although important, can be over done, especially when institutionalized.
I also look back over my own life with this observational oddity. I can see where specific things prompted specific reactions. I think if one is going to respond to today’s culture without chemical influence, they must be prepared to be introspective, and nurturing.
As I recover from My Little Adventure, I look back at my life and I try to find the specific things that made each period of my life enjoyable. (I am presuming you agree that every time has had both very good, as well as very bad things about it.) I tend to over analyze, but the end result is taking those things that I am learning about what I have already experienced, and applying them to the here and now.
No one who knows me questions that the time I lived at Grandpa and Grandma’s was the happiest of my life. I understand that that was a period of time that initially shaped the “Me” I was to become. Having had the experience of observing how a child’s earliest years can shape their later needs, I realized that it was more than just the individuals who shaped that time, but the activities within it.
Expectedly, the way we celebrated holidays, helped shape my being; my Spirituality, Nationality and how I celebrate them. The patterns of life also very much shaped my being. At the time many people had some kind of Religious regularity, which we supplemented with Masonic affiliations, as well as work and/or school. These are, if not participated in specifically in similar ways, most cultures posses.
These physical patterns form the rhythm of our lives. The way in which they move, the specifics unique to us, creates the harmonies that make this existence. If you have not studied music, this might not be very easy to understand, but life is just as complex; understood by very few. There are different varieties, suitable to a specific time or place or individual. It takes many pieces working well together to produce the desired result.
The core of any piece is the rhythm that drives it. Even the musically uneducated can usually recognize the ONE-two-three pattern of a waltz, knowing it is very different from driving force of Thrash Metal, or creative spins of Jazz. Each piece has it’s own specific rhythm. People are very much this way.
My early childhood was surrounded by a great deal of structure. My home life was more scheduled than most early childhood classes, and I likely leaned more as well. It also likely made me in need of a detailed rhythm in my adult life.
My observations of life, in general, has been that change is inevitable, and so I have been unwilling to set patterns. Those times when I have tried, I have failed to do so because, I am realizing, I forgot to listen to the lessons of the children. Having the rhythm present is important, but being flexible within it is just as important. Boundaries with freedom.
As a list maker, (a habit developed from teaching) I tried to conform my rhythm to a specific standard. I expected failure, knowing the irregularity of the reality of life. So I then decided to just be an observer. Understanding that I have taken the time to confirm my personal priorities (God, Family, Self), I began to create lists based on actual behavior, guiding some based upon my personal values and actual ability.
I have found that I am much more comfortable in my rhythm, now that I am aware of it. I need to make some adjustments, but every instrument must be tuned before it can be used to perform a master piece.