Monday, November 16, 2009

Time Tables, Problem Students and Other Uncontrollable Forces of Nature

Apparently I'm a control freak.

When I share this revelation, most people look at me and laugh with a look that says, "how could you have not made this discovery a long time ago?" I guess I was in denial. Or maybe I was living in comparison. Regardless, I never processed this obviously well-known fact.

Now I have known some control-freaks in my day. I realize this statement makes me sound like Granma Moses; however, I say it to make the point that I've had a wide range of experience with people who have to have it their way or no way at all. Many of these people demand answers on the spot, will not tolerate any sort of indecision and will gladly make your life's choices if you find yourself unable to do so. A few of them believed that only their opinion mattered and anyone who spoke to the contrary was inept or brain dead.

This is not the category in which I would've placed myself. I don't believe my opinion is the only one and indecision is a necessary part of life sometimes. But comparison of my lifestyle to someone else's doesn't make me any less of a control freak.

So many things are beyond my control. I understand the concept--better than most people, I would think. What I didn't understand was the fact that I couldn't let go when I had done everything that I could possibly do. It's an extremely detrimental form of control--it holds me accountable for things that I simply cannot fix.

I also had/have a really strong fear of the unknown that extends far beyond the question "What IS my natural hair color?" So because of that fear, I am insatiable about knowing everything I can about some of the situations I'm in. Call it know-it-all-ism, but it's just another form of controlling my environment. I don't want to be terrified, so I fill in the blanks.

I'm working on it. Chris is really great about reminding me that some things just don't matter. I'm getting better about telling my students to take responsibility for their own actions, and then taking the background when the final results are posted. I'm not taking it so personally when other teachers don't have the same problems with particular students, and I'm in a constant state of realizing that not everyone's life works on the same magical time table. When things DO matter, I'm learning to let go and trust a God I've rarely let into my life (in this particular capacity, anyway).

I guess that's what it all boils down to: trust. I'm not sure why I don't trust others, but I wonder if that lifestyle isn't more destructive than a person who trusts everyone. It seems there is a certain innocence with constant trust--not that I want to be on that end of the spectrum, either.

At the end of the day, I want to lay my head down knowing I've done what I can do, and then I want to let it go. There has to be a sense of relief in a fresh start each day.

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