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Thursday, 19 December 2013

Success starts with the seed of motivation.


After the hustle and bustle of a busy year, being forced to go slow has been a delight. No school lunches to make, everyone sleeping in, catching up on missed TV, and connecting, I mean really connecting, with my girls and hubby.

Hubby has always known that I’d love the big country kitchen veggie patch and after getting me my country kitchen, and my country chickens (as much for therapy as practical reasons!) he set to work. It is a beautiful two-tiered masterpiece complete with up-cycled sleepers, herbs in rustic wooden barrels and a fence to keep the chickens and dogs out. It has been wonderful to see his vision start with the first push of the shovel into the soil and finish with planting a variety of goodies.

While hubby designed and built it knowing my preference for aesthetics, he was inspired by our middle girl coming home from kindy with a pumpkin plant she had grown from seed. Needless to say that particular plant didn’t survive until the patch was finished but the level of involvement she had throughout the whole process has been astounding. She turned the soil, helped carry the sleepers, shoveled manure into the trailer, shoveled dirt out of the trailer, hammered stakes, picked out the veggies from the store (we couldn’t NOT get the purple carrots), and lovingly planted them without fear of getting dirty.

There was never any hesitation on her behalf or mine to help with the project because it was something we both greatly desired. In teaching we’d call this a highly motivating activity. It engages, it inspires and it is easily facilitated. It doesn’t need to be fully planned out from start to finish, in fact it’s best if you don’t. In order to keep the inspiration and motivation from dwindling you need to incorporate the input of others.

Other times, motivation comes purely from within, but it still needs to be fostered, though not facilitated. My big girl has spent most of this year teaching herself to click her fingers. Not a bad feat when it’s hard for your brain to tell your muscles what to do on such a detailed level. Every now and then we would catch her practicing unprompted, always offer praise, but also reassurance when she became frustrated.  While I wouldn’t say that clicking her fingers was high on MY list of goals FOR HER right now, it was so very important to her. It was a desire inside of HER to achieve something that meant something TO HER.  The obvious pride she wears on her face when she shows off her clicking is palpable. And brings tears to my eyes.

Without that desire inside of me to get out of bed each day and embrace the life given to me, where does the joy come from? No one is going to deliver it to me in a sealed envelope each morning before breakfast. Holiday motivation has been pretty forthcoming so far with manicures, pedicures, new hairstyles, veggie patches, visiting family as well as trips to the zoo and beach filling our days. I love getting out old music favourites on holidays and feeling recharged by them. One of my feel good songs at the moment is ‘Cooler than You’ by Ben Folds. (mild language warning).  Immersing ourselves in beautiful life moments and surrounding ourselves with people we love and who love us, that motivation is easy. Perhaps it is this joyful place we’re at right now that has inspired hubby and I to take on a big project we’ve dreamed of for years. Let’s just say it involves good teaching, a love of kids, and sharing it. If it succeeds we’ll celebrate here. If it fails I’ll admit that too!

I will draw my motivation and inspiration from my girls who have vision and perseverance to see it through just as I draw from the enthusiasm of my students in the classroom. Maybe it’s time I learnt from them rather than the other way around? It is thrilling to be taking such a big step out of our comfort zone together!


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