When I was a beginning teacher, I often spoke with my students’ parents about the importance of reading every night. I’d go on and on about how crucial it was that parents spend time reading aloud to, with and by their children. After all, I was in single, in my twenties, and had plenty of time to read each night; shouldn’t it be as easy for parents of school-aged children to model the same reading behaviors? Years went by and I continued to question why it was so hard to do something so easy.
Then, after years of not-so-patiently-waiting, my husband and I became adoptive parents to two children, ages 3 and 5. What a wonderful whirlwind it was to become parents overnight! Everything I thought I knew was turned upside-down. I vividly remember standing by my daughter’s bed, a handful of books in my arms, saying, “No, we can’t read tonight. It’s too late and you need to get to bed!” and that didn’t happen just once. We tried so hard to work, get dinner on the table, and spend time playing with the kids each night, but we always seemed to run out of time. Bath time was not the leisurely, relaxing time I had imagined most nights, and bedtime reading was far from what I had dreamed about for years. I needed to adjust my expectations a bit!
While I was angsting over writing my first post ever for SOLC, I thought about the expectations we set for ourselves and others. How many times have I asked my students to set aside their uneasiness and start writing? “Go ahead, put that down on paper!” It seems so easy to do…have an idea, start writing, keep going. Until… I decided to join the Slice of Life Challenge and share my writing online.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve hounded my slicer colleagues about the SOL process and I have read and reread posts on TWT. On Sundays, I took notes during church to try to capture how our pastor structures his sermons. Suddenly, what I was asking my students to do each day wasn’t as easy as I thought. Thinking about exposing myself on the page/screen seemed much more daunting than I had expected. I’ve been a wreck!
Over time, I’ve learned to adjust my expectations for myself and others and know that things have a way of working out. I know I’ll eventually be fine once I hit the “publish” button on my first blog post ever. By the end of March, things will have gotten easier, I’m sure. I’ll remind myself that what matters most during this challenge is that we encourage fellow writers and are encouraged to share our own ideas. I know now that it won’t be the end of the world when someone reads my words.