OK, Stacy (her blog is linked over there ————>), I’m doing your blog challenge for this week.

5 Nuggets that Wise People have imparted to me over the years:

1. Don’t worry about what people are thinking about you, because they’re probably not. My dad said this. Says this. And it’s true. Most of the time when I spin my wheels about what people are thinking about me, they haven’t been at all. I recently spent an entire freaking week in a stew that Nancy was furious with me. Turns out she was just busy. I felt like an idiot. So here I was, losing sleep, and she was just busy.

2. It doesn’t matter what he’s doing. He’s behind you. Alan. My high school boyfriend was a very good driver. I am, by all accounts, not. I’m a nervous driver. It used to freak me out when someone was tailgating me or driving aggressively behind me. Alan would say the above, and my ruffled feathers would calm back down. And I repeat it to myself often.

3. Stop spending so much energy preparing to be mad. Matt. My college boyfriend (the kinder one with this moniker — I dated two guys named Matt) noticed that I really do work myself up in advance, working out the perfect scripted things I would say when my adversary said something to me… And rarely — no, NEVER — did I ever actually get to SAY those perfect scripted things. Lots of wasted time and energy went into making up those scripts (to the point that I actually did go into a fight with The Other Matt prepared with notes, and I’m not kidding)… So GoodMatt’s point was well taken. And I try to remember (and remind myself and my mother, who is the source of this nasty habit) that I/we don’t need to spend that much energy preparing for a battle that will not happen the way I’ve imagined it anyway.

4. When I grow up, I’m going to be an artist. Helen. If you ask her what she’s going to be, this is her answer. Always. And I heard her tell someone the other day that her mommy is “an artist AND a teacher.” I thought that was cool. When I grow up, I wanna be an artist, too.

5. Children can compartmentalize. Mary Shepard, my favorite teacher in high school, who was my boss when I became a teacher. When I was pregnant with Helen and worried about grandparents spoiling the new grandchild and not doing things the way I wanted them to do, she said this to me. It was the mantra she repeated to herself around her own mother-in-law, because their parenting styles were so vastly different. She said that her children quickly figured out that Mommy’s rules were different from Nana’s rules, and that was okay. And it’s true. My kids have figured it out, too. I did have to remind Helen once — in front of Nannie — after she protested: “Right. When you’re alone with Nannie, you can do that. But when Mommy’s with you, Mommy’s rules trump Nannie’s rules.” And she accepted that and stopped protesting. Dang. Mary Shepard was right.
…….Same goes with teaching — kids rapidly figure out which teachers will let them get away with stuff, and those are the teachers that they misbehave for. If they don’t get away with stuff with you and you draw that line in the sand on Day One, you’ll be in good shape. She advised that I be tough as nails my first month teaching, and I was. And I never had a single significant problem with a student (sure, I had to send kids to the office on two occasions, I think, but nothing major). The problems I had were with parents, who weren’t accustomed to teachers being tough on their kids, I guess.