Ambition

I am always impressed with people who have dreams or goals and manage to make everything happen the way they envision things, or just have a “to do” list and get things done.  They have ambition, self-initiative, and usually good time management skills.  I can never seem to be as productive as I would like to be, so I guess I’m partly just envious.  I know people who get more done by 9 am than I do all day long sometimes, but then again, I’m not a morning person.  They wake up on full throttle.  I have no clue what that feels like, and sometimes I spend more time thinking about what needs to get done rather than actually doing things.  I get great satisfaction out of checking things of my “to do” list and want to get things done, but I can’t always make things happen in the timeframe I would like to and should be able to, but it’s sometimes due to things out of my control.  Other times it is not. I can be very focused and productive though with the right motivation.

What really impresses me is when other people are willing to tackle projects or do anything that is out of their comfort zone, which seems to be a key factor sometimes.  They’re not afraid to try something they’ve never done before or figure things out as they go.  They just take the bull by the horns, so to speak, and run with it.  Continue reading

Impulse Control

I am astounded sometimes by the lack of impulse control so many people seem to have these days.  I certainly expect children to not be able to refrain from giving in to every impulse they have because they haven’t learned not to yet, but it amazes me how many adults never do.  The number seems to be on the rise.  So of course, I shouldn’t be surprised that teenagers who are learning by example seem to have difficulty with this as well.

Now that I am back in the classroom at the middle school level, it seems to be the biggest challenge.  Many students can’t refrain from sharing every thought that comes to mind at any time.  Or they just get up out of their seats and wander around the classroom if they feel like it.  They don’t understand that sometimes they need to wait to go to the bathroom because they’re going to miss some important instructions or information if they don’t. Any question is fair game at any time, even if they could easily figure out the answer for themselves.  There’s no sense of whether they should or shouldn’t do or say something because it might not be an appropriate time.  They can’t seem to do anything without talking while they are doing it.  And they don’t ask permission either.  They just do it.  It makes me wonder if anyone at home is teaching them to be conscious about this, whether this has just become more acceptable to more people, or whether it’s not really a choice for more people (because I know that is difficult for people with ADHD, for example).  It’s probably a combination of it all.

I wonder what kind of adults they are going to be if they have SO little impulse control as teenagers.  Thank goodness it’s not ALL of the students.  That gives me hope. However, when you combine the lack of impulse control to do the things that they want to do with the lack of motivation to do the things that they need to do, then I worry.  I see that in my own kids too.  I can be impulsive sometimes  and end up doing things that I hadn’t planned on doing (like when I sit down to write these blog posts), which prevents me from doing the things I should have been doing, but I manage to get done the things I really need to do and eventually find the motivation to get the rest done too.  It takes me longer than I would like sometimes, but life can’t be all work and no play.  It’s a balance, and it seems like too many people can’t seem to find that balance because they’re too impulsive.

Unfortunately, I think the vast amount of information at our fingertips and number of ways we can entertain ourselves with some sort of electronics these days plays a role in that too.  It’s too easy to impulsively pick up our phones and start scrolling through whatever social media accounts we have or text someone just to say hi.  How many times a day do we all do that?  Too many.  I’m guilty too.  It’s that instant gratification that’s hard to ignore. Unfortunately, I think that’s part of the problem.  We’re so used to instant gratification that we can’t go without it for very long.  So now those middle schoolers who were already hard enough to manage years ago because they are still children who need instant gratification are even more difficult to manage now.  They can’t wait to share a thought or ask a question because they thrive on instant gratification that they are so used to getting, now that they all have their own phones or other electronic devices.

It’s something we all really need to be conscious about … how impulsive we are, and can we set a better example for our children and help them learn to not be so impulsive themselves.  My job would be a whole lot easier if more people did that.

Instant Gratification

More and more we are living in an age of instant gratification.  Thanks to the Internet and our smart phones, we have oodles of information at our fingertips whenever we need it.  No one has to wait for Saturday morning cartoons anymore, since there are numerous channels that run cartoons all day long.  The anticipation of seeing holiday specials on TV isn’t there anymore, because we can buy them all on DVD.  If we can’t find something in the store, we can order it online and have it sent to the house.  Or better yet, we can skip going to the store altogether.  We don’t have to wait for a time when someone is available to talk on the phone.  We can send them a text or email and often get an immediate response.  We can comment on articles and social media posts and feel that instant gratification of being able to voice our opinion and engage in a “conversation” about the topic, heated or not.

Unfortunately, I believe this has affected our patience level and attention spans.  I think this is especially true for kids who don’t know any different than the way it is today.  We are not used to having to wait for most things, so when we do, it can be frustrating.   Continue reading