Baby steps

Sometimes the only way to get anything done is to do a little bit at a time. If you want to write a book that is too big a step. There’s no way you’re going to write a book in one day or even one week. You have to take little baby steps in order to do it. Sometimes the baby step is simply writing one thing a day. Sometimes you can’t even get that far and your baby step is simply turning on the computer every day. Do whatever it is that you have to do break it up into little steps.

Sometimes it is overwhelming to think of all the little parts of a project but if you can break it up into little parts it makes the project doable. I am working on an art project using stamps and fortune cookie slips. As long as I do one or two of these every day I will have completed a book very soon. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the book but I don’t really care. I am enjoying creating and enjoying using these little bits of art and putting them together in an unusual way.

If I start thinking about what I’m going to do with the book – how to promote it, how to sell it, book tours – I’m getting ahead of myself. I need to make it, a page at a time.

The point is to just work towards a goal, step by step.

After you’ve completed a step, then go to the next step.

It is just like cooking zucchini bread. First you need a recipe. That is your road map. But even a recipe is a bunch of little steps. You have to have all the right tools and ingredients necessary. You need a stove and a whisk and a fork and some bowls. And of course you need zucchini and flour and spices and baking powder and soda. It is all made up of a bunch of little things.
If you ever have a really heavy project that you have to deal with then definitely break it up into little steps. I’m thinking of something like dealing with an estate or getting married. These are not everyday projects, and they are important to do correctly.

Do everything that you can get away with early as soon as you can. It is certain that if you leave things to the last minute three other things that you didn’t expect will creep up on you and you will have to deal with them and the other things at the same time.

To create a book. Thoughts.

I’m having debates in my head about how to do the book and if I’m ready to publish. I realize now that I’ve already said it several times – it is already written, I don’t need to add more.

I’m still writing more, and I can and will always write more. I have finally realized that I can publish the new stuff later. I can republish old stuff and put it with new stuff if I find I’m writing a lot on one theme – like Communion, for instance. This book is a taste, a start, a beginning.

I’m weary and I worry about going through editing. But then I remember the only thing to it is to do it. Just start.

Also, then I remember the Jewish idea of the yetzer hara – knowing about it is helpful. I’m seeing all these distractions as a sign that I’m on to something good. It is a sign now, when I stop to notice it playing this game on me.

Just like how a child learns “this” feeling is a sign to go to the bathroom – “this” feeling of being distracted is a sign that outside influences are messing with me, trying to stop me from doing what I’m being called to do, what I’m made for. Sounds paranoid? It isn’t. It is actually very healthy. The idea of the yetzer hara isn’t mine, and it isn’t new. It was very freeing to learn about it. I’ve written about it many times before. It is an indicator to me now. I’ve transformed it from being a stumbling block into a steppingstone.

The idea of the yetzer hara needs to be introduced in mental hospitals. Heck, it needs to be introduced to people before they get into mental hospitals.

So the more I write about writing, the more I’m not putting my book together. See, it is a game, a distraction. This is all part of being human. I still feel a need to publish something every day. It is a way to stretch and clean out my head. But I need to use this unintended vacation time (the library is closed for remodeling) to work on my book, as I’ve said all along.

Perhaps there is a good reason I found out that Internet Explorer isn’t to be trusted. I was using it and Chrome to work on the book. I had my main blog open on Chrome, and I had the Empty Cross Community blog open on IE. I’d post from one to the other, and check to make sure I’d not already posted something. I created the second blog just to create file folders for my book. My first book. Which is already written, mostly. I’ve not added anything new to Empty Cross Community that isn’t already in BetsyBeadhead. It is just more focused – just the religious stuff. No rambles, no pictures.

I found out that IE is highly suspect, so I stopped using it. It is impossible to look at two WordPress sites using the same browser – I can’t log into both and look at both. It thinks I’m “BetsyBeadhead” when I’m on “EmptyCrossCommunity”. It won’t let me post to it. So I had to stop. I’m starting to see this as a good thing – it has created a stopping point. Start on the next part of the project. Stop adding to it. Start formatting.

Time to get going. Wish me luck, and say a prayer if you are the praying type. Pray that my words are of use to people, that they lead them towards God, and towards healing.

Homework – to help, or not to help.

I’ve never understood why parents will worry over their children’s homework. So many parents seem to think that “helping” their child with their homework means actually doing the work. The more that parents do for their children, the less the child is doing for himself. The less he does for himself, the less he is learning.

At what point is helping your child with homework just assisting, and at what point is it enabling? At what point is it flat out cheating?

Sure, you want your child to do well. Who doesn’t? But if you do the work for your child you are teaching him that he doesn’t have to do any work at all. The “A” that he gets isn’t really his “A”.

When your child comes up to you the night before an assignment is due and asks for your help, don’t. He got that assignment way before today. He has had time to work on it and has chosen not to. If you rescue him and do a lot of the work for him you are teaching him that waiting until the last minute is OK. You will teach him that failure to plan is fine. You will teach him that it is ok to make his procrastination other people’s problems.

Whatever behavior you want to see in your child when he is an adult, you should encourage it now. Waiting until the last minute to do your work, whether it is for school or for salary, is a bad idea and will result in less than perfect work. Expecting others to drop everything they are doing to help you with your assignments is bad too.

Expect better of your children. Encourage them to do their own work. If they get a low grade, at least it is their grade. Hopefully it will inspire them to get motivated sooner on their assignments.

Sure, help them with their homework. Take them to the library. But let them choose the books. Instead of answering a question, show them how to look up the answer. If you do all the work then they aren’t learning anything.

It isn’t about the grades. It is about what the child learns.

Plenty of parents feel pride if their child gets good grades in school. Why feel proud of your child’s grades if you have done the majority of the work?

Plenty of parents will say that “we have all this homework to do” It isn’t “we”. It is the child’s assignment. Let them do it. Teach them how to be responsible for themselves by making them be responsible for themselves.