One can always find a reason or an excuse not to do something, wouldn’t you agree? I myself am no stranger to either procrastinating generally, or ignoring the situation entirely, justifying it one way or another to myself along the way.
Take for example the fact that I need to start doing some exercising, like, desperately. To look at me, you’d probably think, “hasn’t an ounce of fat on ‘im! It’s not exercise he needs, it’s several hearty meals inside ‘im, that’s what!”
Aside from the fact that I find myself getting the beginnings of a slight paunch (horror of horrors), exercise is not just about losing weight, as you well know. It’s about inner well being, it’s about getting out of the house and onto a bicycle, it’s about balancing out all that luvverly food and squashed grape juice with getting one’s heart pumping good an’ proper!
Never is my procrastinating operating at a higher level than when I am stood looking at my slightly ancient bicycle through the TV room window, propped against the fence, rain water dripping off handlebars, gear levers and the saddle.
On a less energetic note, I am also more than a little adept at sidestepping requests from people - friends, family and work colleagues alike. Don’t get me wrong, if I can help, I will. It’s just sometimes easier to not do whatever was asked of me in the first place.
Take, for example, my Boss last year. She asked me to accompany my year group to the Isle of Wight for their end of primary school trip. I said I’d think about it, but in the back of my mind I was thinking that I probably wouldn’t be going. Generally, I found the year group to be a nice bunch, for the most part, anyway.
After several weeks, I explained that, due to the ages of my own children and the nature of M’s very busy and demanding job, it would be very tricky to make the trip. As a result, I didn’t go. To be completely honest, I had some regrets about not going.
Not BIG regrets, but some niggles all the same.
Fast forward 1 year.
The year group I’ve worked with this year have been absolutely fan-tastic! I feel proud and lucky to have worked with every single one of this years Class of 2010-2011. Don’t get me wrong, there are several slippery customers, each with their own behavioural issues, but nothing that made me feel I don’t have the best job in the world (albeit with crap pay!).
Funnily enough, when I was asked this year if I would accompany the class to the Isle of Wight, I still said I’d think about it, even though I knew I’d regret it good and proper if I passed up this chance.
The bottom line is, I went on the trip (which is mostly where I’ve been during the past couple of weeks) and I couldn’t be happier that I went. Knowing what I now know, I would have regretted not going for a long time to come. The smashing kids in the classroom turned out to be even more smashing away from home and school.
There were a few homesick kids, not used to being away from home for the first time, some tears (mostly boys), but all pulled through. Although I wouldn’t use the word homesick to describe myself, it was the longest time I’d ever been away from my own children;
Five long days.
You may or may not know, from my previous ramblings, that I am a massive fan of the Isle of Wight. I love how green it is, I love that some of it is new-ish but most of it is stuck in a time warp, I love the pace of life there, I love that it is so friendly.
Going with 35 eleven year olds from various backgrounds however, opened my eyes to even more magic.
I doubt I’ll ever forget walking through Blackgang Chine amusement park towards the water slide, being told by one of the boys, that he’d never been to an amusement park before. “What, never?” I stupidly asked. “No”, was his excited reply. He probably yelled the loudest going down the slide that day.
"This is the best roller coaster I’ve ever been on”, gasped one of the girls in my group. “Yeah, that’s because it’s the only one you’ve ever been on”, said her friends. “Oh yeah”, she replied, making everyone laugh hysterically.
Another of the boys had never paddled at the seaside before and was stood for ages, only up to his ankles, staring out at the vast expanse of water in front of him, asking where the water ended.
It was another moment where I thought of my own kids – not in a 'missing them' way just then, but how they’ve done so much already, been taken to so many places to help broaden their knowledge and understanding of the world around them. I thought then, that while we were out exploring at the weekend, some of the kids I work with are cooped up indoors watching TV, waiting for parents to come home from work (their words, not mine).
Before we left for the trip, a letter was sent home telling parents to send a letter, addressed to their child, to the hotel in which we were staying in. On the morning after we arrived, the letters would be handed out to children to ease them into being away from home. Apart from the fact that lots of children received nothing, I used the idea myself and typed up a letter for Joseph and Annabel and posted it the morning I left for the trip.
Unbeknownst to me, they had done the same thing (you clever thing M) and I was the very proud recipient of a letter, handed out over breakfast on the Tuesday morning.
You have no idea how delighted I was to get these!