My classroom is not a quiet, orderly place.
Students are constantly moving, thinking, talking, reading and writing.
I do my best to help my students find success.

August 2, 2016

Systematic approach, reluctantly

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When Lindsey returned after a summer of working at the U of Iowa orientation program, we tried to contain her stuff to one corner of the family room.  We knew she needed time and space to decompress from her job.  Being in charge of a group of incoming first years or transfer students, two or three times per week, wears you out.

I decided not to nag her (this is a skill I'm working on) about dealing with her stuff.  I did ask a few questions and encourage her to make some decisions about what she would bring to school, and what she could let go, as she enters her junior year.

Lindsey pointed out to me (very diplomatically) that when her amount of stuff was questioned or looked at with dismay (pointing at you, dad), she got upset.  She felt that we were holding her back from building an independent life outside of our house.

Huh.  I never thought of it that way.

Nine days of relaxing, creating door decorations for her floor, and visiting with friends passed by.  Some stuff got organized.  We realized that moving day (it's tomorrow!) was quickly arriving.

Last night we made a plan for today.  I would not work on homework or go to school.  She and I would pack her stuff and place it in the truck.  No errands, limited phone time, lots of music, no lectures.  We decided to pack item stored in the basement, then the items in the family room, and finish with the clothes in her bedroom.

I'm happy to report that the plan went extremely well.  I let Lindsey decide where to place her stuff in the truck and how to pack most of it.  I was merely the assistant, in charge of laundry, hanging clothes and dishes.  I offered a few suggestions, but that was it.

Parenting young adults is a whole new world.  They want to be seen as functioning grown ups.  We parents want to help them navigate life smoothly, avoiding some of the bigger pitfalls we remember from our past.  Hoping to help them realize what stuff is important.

It's an exciting time around here!  Lindsey's younger sister leaves for college in two weeks.  I wonder how packing her stuff and launching will turn out.