It’s Sunday night. The weekend’s been cold and dreary. Two of my kidlets came down with fever. I’ve been sleeping badly (I don’t deal well with nighttime interruptions). And here I am, cudgeling my brain, trying to come up with an upbeat and uplifting blog post for Wednesday.
Well, I can’t do upbeat, so you might have to settle for thoughtful, with–hopefully–a dash of uplifting.
So, I’m going to write about something that I’ve mulled over a lot in the last few months. It’s the realization that most of what I do–the valuable work of my life (raising children, homeschooling, forging relationships, writing)–take a long long time to bear fruit.
This is completely at odds with the have-it-now messages I’m bombarded with. Technology has made it so much easier to get what I want, when I want it. I finished a book and want the sequel right now? I can download it to my e-reader at any time of day or night. Book not available in digital format? Amazon Prime will have it on my doorstep in two days. I need to quickly put together a unit study, find math drills for the older two kidlets, connect-the-dot worksheets for the Baron, or research a topic? Connect with friends halfway across the world? Find a recipe for tiramisu? Kill time with a fun game? Well, isn’t that why we have wireless high-speed Internet, computers and iDevices?
As a consumer, getting what I want now or soon has been great. But as a creator, as a parent, I need to get out of the want-results-now mindset. I need to accept that every skill has a learning curve, that every craft requires time, patience, nurturing. That parenting three decidedly individual people isn’t as easy or quick as “just add water and mix!” That I can’t spend several weeks reading articles on the craft and art of writing and then bang out the Perfect Novel.
Making peace with this sort of delayed gratification has taught me to celebrate the processes of what I do, as well as the results. It’s not just about the fact that a child learned a skill or internalized a character trait, but the failures and the time and the growth it took him to get there. It’s not just that there’s a finished story on my hard drive, but it’s also about the excitement of the first idea, the fervor of planning, the fallow periods and the angst and the magic when it all came together.
I’m in this–this creating and parenting and learning along with my children–for the long haul. I may as well enjoy the journey.
How about you? How do you enjoy the journey?