Saturday, April 17, 2010

Calendar Girl

I recently got a Blackberry and every time I upgrade my phone family and friends encourage me to keep my calendar on it. I use Google for my email and there's a great calendar feature with that as well. I use Outlook in my job and that too has a calendar feature. And yet I still write everything down on a paper calendar. I don't even use a Day Planner - I use a desk calendar that is the size of an open book. I can see a month at a glance. I keep wondering why I resist the technology that makes keeping track of my appointments easier.

My students are required to keep a planner at school. We expect them write down the agenda for each class and note the homework each day. We are trying to help them keep track of all they have to do. After all, they are busy people - they attend 7 classes per day and are accountable to 7 different teachers. That would stress out anyone! But there are always a number of students who resist our attempts to get them organized. So they don't write anything down, they forget to do the homework, and their parents just shake their heads in dismay during parent/teacher conferences at the lack of effort their children make to stay on top of what's important.

There is more than one way to stay focused on what's most important to you. Electronic reminders are great for some, but annoying to others. Making lists of what to do every day is a life saver for some, and unnecessary work to others. The key is to find what works for you and then stick to it.

I also am calendar-driven in my worship. I follow the Church calendar to help me stay focused on what's most important to me. Some wonder why I need such a "crutch" - but it is not a crutch to me. It is as much a part of my way of worship as personal prayer is to someone else. I try to utilize the tools at my disposal to help me focus. I need to see it, hear it, and do something about it to remember it. My learning style integrates different ways for me to get the most out of an experience.

And then I wonder - what if that is a crutch? What's wrong with crutches? A crutch is a support to assist someone who is lame in walking. I am certainly not always strong enough to walk without support. On this journey I do need support. I'm glad I have something to lean on when I need it.

Sometimes our children need more support at certain times than at others. Maybe they need a new calendar to help them keep track of what they need to do. Maybe they need us, their parents, to be their calendar for them. It may be a temporary crutch. Or they may need support for an extended period of time. Saying they should be able to do this by themselves "at this age" is a judgment we can't afford to make. Everyone is at a different stage of their walk. The idea is to help them along their way in whatever way works.