Weekly Virtue: Review Sincerity, Prepare for Justice

This week was Sincerity.

Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

It’s interesting how that ties into my latest mis-step.

Sometimes being sincere hurts others.

I recently realized (and may have realized before, and will probably forget — it’s something that my brain keeps rejecting) that things I’ve been doing to help individual kids in my daughter’s group might be hurting more than helping.

I mark the homework. I’m one of the markers who show up every week. Most kids, things go smoothly. Many times, a few words to the parents clears small problems before they become big. Sometimes, though, involving the parents actually hurts the child, and that’s where my brain glitches. How can involving parents hurt the child?

The parents panic, or think that their child’s position in the group is at risk, or the homework is too much work and the group isn’t worth it, or that they’re terrible parents because they can’t get their preteen girls to focus and learn. (Cue laugh and sympathy for those who think that’s possible.) Some parents expect their kids to pick things up faster than the kids can. Many parents don’t know the subject themselves, so they’re not comfortable, and often try to rush through their own learning.

They are thinking innocently and justly and trying to do what’s best for their kids. I’m doing the same.

The kids who struggle with this homework are probably struggling at school, so really need a place where they can achieve without school-type work. This group can be that.

In the big picture, there’s a lot more to the group than the homework. The homework supports the end product, not the other way around, and the end product is incredible. But my job is the homework, and due to confidentiality, that’s often all I see. Even that’s spotty. Some kids don’t hand in their book every week, and we can’t always divide it so the same marker sees the same book each week, so it’s hard to see patterns. We can pull kids out for a quick private lesson, but that takes time from more important work. Also, some parts have to be done with a CD player.

So in all sincerity I thought I was helping. That sincerity caused me to put a ton of energy into actions that may have hurt.

We’re slowly working on a better system, one that will help us identify the kids who need a different type of help or different standard earlier, and to help them.

Next week is justice.

Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

Well, in the previous project, I can stop writing notes for the parents. Except often that works quite well.

Not sure what he means by omitting the benefits that are your duty. Is it benefits that are due to me? I should take what I’m owed? Easy enough. I’m satisfied that I’m getting the recognition and payment I’m owed (except from my kids, but I hear that’s normal). I always do my duties to the best of my ability, so no problem there.

I wonder what thoughts the virtue will trigger over the next week.


Weekly Virtue: Review Frugality, Prepare for Industry

Last week was Frugality.

Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.

About average. Went to the dollar store rather than Staples for low-use binders. (It helps that the stores are beside each other.) Actually returned a poor purchase. Two meals out, both reasonable, but one which might turn into a weekly treat for myself if I’m not careful. Happy with the grocery bills. We’re pretty-much within budget overall.

Next week is Industry.

Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.

I’ve changed the way I do large projects. Last season I put even many of my large projects into hibernation, and planned to spend two afternoons a week to do the few remaining. I wasn’t doing them. This week I picked one and started working on it to the exclusion of just about everything else. I’m more excited about the possibility of finishing it now that I’m working on it regularly. I had planned to work on it this afternoon as well, but errands and groceries ran late, and then I went online. Oops.

I’m also going to batch friends’ requests instead of doing them immediately, at least when I remember to. Yes, they will probably take the same total time, but at least my prime time will be spent on my own projects. Maybe the less-than-instant action will encourage them to experiment a bit more themselves.

I’ve also identified a few places where I go above and beyond. That’s going to stop. I’ll do what I can with what they give me, not look up the rest of the details. It’s a toss-up between breaking my heart seeing the result which isn’t as useful to them as it could be, and resenting the time spent doing what they could have done easier themselves.

I’m also asking my assistants (they’re volunteer jobs at three guilds) do more. That’s always a challenge for me, since at this stage in both of their training it’s easier for me to do it myself than forward instructions. However, they both took the job to learn, and they are learning, when I take the time to ask them.

Now I’m going to be industrious and clean the kitchen (wanted to get errands done before lunch, so didn’t do the breakfast dishes) before the kids get home, then work on the story I’m performing tonight. It’s my interpretation of a traditional story. Good in that I don’t have to learn the author’s words. Bad because, while I enjoy the brainstorming and testing to see what works, I need to work on cutting out the bits that don’t fit.

Weekly Virtue: Review Resolution, Prepare for Fugality

This week was Resolution, from Ben Franklin’s list.

Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

The week started well enough. Very well, actually. I only did some of what I’d planned, but my plans were too optimistic (seriously so), and made good choices overall. Sadly, it ended badly. As evidence, I present this day-late blog post. (Remember I do this Wednesday to Wednesday.)

I skipped my weekly and daily plans. Part of it may have been I’ve been keeping better records, and seeing all the things I plan that don’t get done makes me question why I bother to plan.

I know the answer to that already. Planning lets me see the ground ahead. It reminds me what is important. It tells me if I need to be careful about staying on track. It prepares me for the most likely dead ends. It helps me make informed decisions when I get off track. Continue on the new track, or go back to a modified version of the original plan. Notice the complete lack of “Planning is useless unless I follow the plan.”

A few minutes ago I was very discouraged. Then I rebooted. I did what I should have done this morning, and yesterday morning.Review the lists and make the first cut for tomorrow’s list. Actually crossed several things off the big list because I’d done them, and realized that one page from a meeting “filled with action items” had only four — two of which I’d done.

Not great, but reality was better than my memory. Having supper also helped.

Overall, though, I have to say that I made no progress with Resolution.

Next week is frugality.

Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.

Two weeks ago, terrible. Last week, not much better. Too many errands running too late, leading to too many meals out. (My scale agrees with that assessment.)

Next week looks like a good one for frugality. Only one morning appointment, and that ends well before lunch.

Weekly Virtue: Review of Order, Prepare for Resolution

Last week was Order.

Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

Physically, some small improvements. While sweeping, I got fed up with the game controllers in front of the TV or falling out of the pile between the TV stand and the corner, and tired of the mess under the fish tank. My son had a small stack of drawers on wheels that he wasn’t using, except the top surface. That’s now in the living room. There isn’t really room for it, and my husband says he has a better solution, but it will do for now.

We also bought a medicine cabinet. The bottles and boxes never got put back in the travel box on the counter, and even when they were, they were hard to read and hard to put away. It was a bit of a jigsaw puzzle. Fingers crossed it gets installed this weekend.

Keeping up with my time commitments, not so good. I joined a small accountability group (3 members, but possibly open to more) and we’re still finding our way. We say what we intend to do, and then what we really did. So far, we all think it’s helping. Our only commitment to each other is to be supportive. One person is trying small hourly posts. (I reply more-or-less daily.) One lists only a few key goals per day. Me, well, I’m verbose. I list my entire day’s plan, then put in time estimates, then make things more realistic. That’s a good exercise, since usually I want to do twice what I have time for. Then I waste time fleshing out the details a bit too much, then chopping them back and trying again…and again…and again.

It was a heavy week for appointments and emotional roller-coasters. (Nothing bad. Major review of life insurance which dragged on for 8 months and two agents. We also saw a specialist in the big city about a little-known but well-established alternative to routine major surgery for a non-scary condition. Routine for a hospital, and non-scary if you’re used to major surgery.) Plus emergency winter clothes shopping for my pre-teen daughter who has her heart set on being a perfect student this year.

Fortunately, I get another stab at it. Next week is Resolution.

Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

I predict an interesting week. 7 planned events, which is medium for me. Only two deadlines, one of which I’ll finish the work for this week. Fingers crossed I pull ahead on some non-deadline projects!

Weekly Virtue: Review of Silence and Prepare for Order

Review of of Silence:

Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

Well, I deleted several comments before I sent them, and even skipped the last three revision passes before deleting them. I noted two times where, while I thought what I said was respectful and helpful, it might have been interpreted differently.

Next week is Order:

Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

Uh, have you seen my desk / office / file shelf / craft-pile? They’re slowly getting better again, after a season / year / several years / season of neglect?

I need to be stricter about putting things away. I have a bag for each group. Most things stay in the bag between meetings, but now that organizing is over, many of the things in those bags can be put away. Now that display and advertising season is over, I can put away my crafts and tools. All sorts of smallish things. I’m slowly working at my old files, purging and moving them to the new cabinet, and moving more-used things to the open shelves. Lots of awkward-sized holes during the process!

As for time? I think I have a doable plan for the next few weeks, so long as I don’t get side-tracked. I’ve slowed down or stopped several projects, so I can focus on and maybe finish a few. (I also put the equipment for those hibernating projects away!) Today, though, instead of working, I went to Knit Lit at the library, then helped a friend get her new iPad-mini online and linked to her old iTunes and Kindle accounts.

Letting each part of my business have its time is going to be a challenge.

Weekly Virtues: Review of Temperance, Prepare for Silence

Last week’s virtue was Temperance.

Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

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Weekly Virtue: Temperance

Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

Uh, yeah. Good thing I’m starting this today, not last week.

I’m officially past the “should lose 10 pounds” stage. All was well-enough when I walked 1km to the school, and back, twice a day, but that was several years ago. I’m trying a combination of Everyday System’s No S Diet, and a bit of calorie counting.The rules for the diet are:

There are just three rules and one exception:

  • No Snacks
  • No Sweets
  • No Seconds

Except (sometimes) on days that start with “S”

That’s it.

It’s easy, and in theory should work very well, I find, though, that without an awareness of calories, it’s easy to follow the rules and still gain wait. By knowing roughly how many calories are in something, I know where to put my effort. One small scoop of homefries, or let my MIL serve me (and convince me to take one more scoop so there are no leftovers)? Is it worth cutting that slice of birthday cake in half? Lemonade or tomato juice? One tbsp of mayonnaise added to egg salad almost doubles the calories.

I’ve tried it for a few weeks, but it’s been an erratic summer. I know I should pack a healthy snack for the drive, but when I know the family will stop at someplace yummy… I’m going to reboot it.

Also, I’m borderline hypoglycemic. That means if I don’t eat enough at one meal, I will need an unplanned snack, and my grumpiness level and lack of concentration don’t make it easy to pick something healthy. Hopefully, a daily routine, with this much housework and that much exercise, will help me fine-tune what I eat.

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