Thursday, April 26, 2012


Not too long ago, I was listening to NPR and heard an interesting idea from one of the guests on one of the shows (wow, that is so specific, I know).  Honestly, the only thing I remember about this program is that the guest was a Buddhist Jew, the show was about child rearing, and the part that I am about to share with you that really stuck with me.

While I might disagree with this lady's spiritual convictions, what she said about the concept 'recalculating' really spoke to me.   Now a grandmother, she was asked to share some advice on raising children.   Not pretending she knew it all, she humorously suggested that it would help her in life and others in child rearing if we were more like our GPS.  She noted that when she is using the help of her GPS to find a place and makes a wrong turn, her GPS responds--


She laughed as she talked about how no matter how many wrong turns she makes on her trip, the tone of voice of the GPS never changes but just keeps repeating RE-CAL-CU-LA-TING. RE-CAL-CU-LA-TING.

I thought about how often during the course of the day, I get to recalculate my next step, my plan of action.    How the night before,  I plan tomorrow in my head, but when tomorrow comes my plan is rarely fulfilled.  (This, by the way is one reason I suck at menu planning).   Kids have definitely taught me to be more flexible, but I don't know why I sometimes assume to have control of tomorrow or even of the next hour.   Not only that, but even if I plan for things to go unplanned, I often fail miserably at repeating the word recalculating using the same tone of voice.  If you get my drift.

A typical day in our household should might look like this:

~Kid refuses to get dressed for school in the morning--recalculating--feed him breakfast first.

~It took me longer to finish chores and it is too late to go to the library as planned--recalculating--offer play dough instead.  The kids don't want to do play dough--recalculating--suggest water coloring.  They don't want to water color--recalculating--stop what you are doing and pay undivided attention by reading, building something with them, or massaging their backs.

~We are late for our x-practice and they are goofing of--recalculating--remind yourself that the Earth will not stop circling the orbit and vouch to start getting ready 15 minutes earlier than usually.

~On the way to practice, the baby starts fussing, the boys in the back are having trouble keeping their hands off each other and your daughter keeps asking circular questions about some stupid thing and you are about to explode---recalculating---pull over, count to three and calmly say-----something---- to make them knock it off and take the time to calm the baby.   

~Husband calls and says he won't make it to dinner again--recalculating--remind yourself that he is not playing pool somewhere but is providing for your family and make dinner time as pleasant as possible.

Wow, that's a lot of recalculating.  A lot of decision making on a spot.

I think the problem occurs when I don't take the time to recalculate.  The problem arises when I let my emotions take over, don't think rationally and my vision becomes nearsighted.  I only see NOW and the things that are not going as planned but should NOW.  I don't see the wounded hearts, the widening of a gap, or the bigger picture.  The pressure of time, set expectations, the illusion of control, and own rearing are all in the way of being good at recalculating and not loosing temper, mood, and staying composed.

Life is always so uncertain.  Recalculating must and will happen so I better plan for welcoming it with grace.