Waiting is NOT easy. Any delay feels like we’re going to be “too late” for something.
In fact, next week, our book read aloud will be that title exactly, by Gerald and Piggie in Mo Willem’s book, “Esperar no es fácil.” (Waiting is not Easy.) If you’d like to grab the Spanish version, and get ready for that lesson, you can find it here!
So when there is a delay, how do you respond? I have a few short tips to help you get a new perspective on delays, and I hope it helps you in the short term, long term, in homeschooling, and in relationships.
DELAYS in the SHORT TERM:
Delays will always happen. Recognizing that you should ALWAYS expect delays helps us to not be frustrated when they happens. “Double it and add two weeks,” was the advice my dad gave me when I was planning any project timeline at all, and it was usually exactly on time. Which helped me to not only keep my gentle tone in check, but also my self-judgement of being a failure, which would rob my accomplishment of its satisfaction.
DELAYS in the LONG TERM:
Delays help you to STRETCH. Think about a quick stretch. Now think about those LONG, pulling, freeing, satisfying stretches. Not only do the muscles actually elongate, but the endorphins released give you a pleasant, peaceful change in your mental state. You’re able to reach further, and be more flexible. When you see that delay coming on, LEAN into it. Your patience increases, you are able to see the benefits of the delay immediately rather than reacting to the situation with a negative emotion, you cn harness the delay, and STRETCH yourself and your children, thus creating not only a pleasant moment, but habits of pleasant responses to the little bumps that are certain to come every day, every week, every month, and every season of each member of your family’s life.
DELAYS IN HOMESCHOOLING:
The comparison game is impossible to avoid, but we do strive to think of progress rather than rank in our homeschooling. When there’s something we see as a delay, it feels bad! Let’s challenge that. Let’s think instead of the delay as a chance to dive deeper, allow maturity and growth to happen, or perhaps even a re-route. That delay gives us the chance to re-start, reinforce our decision to do the lesson, project, unit, or activity, or the option to change it up. ALL are good options. Rethink, re-plan, or re-do. A delay is just a pause, a semi-colon, if you will. Taking a breath and stepping back, leaning into the delay in homeschooling can give you a perspective that is life giving, and affirming, rather than full speed ahead, and not noticing nuances, changes, or even potential hiccups that may need to be addressed.
DELAYS in RELATIONSHIPS:
This is the hardest. We often feel the push to hurry and respond to an invitation, or a text, or a question. Are you of the age where you can remember life before caller ID? Do you remember LUNGING for the phone, just IN CASE it was for you? It was such a thrill! Now, with the option of texting, emailing, or messaging in hundreds of ways, we still feel that surge or NEED to respond. DELAY it. Just wait a moment. It can likely wait. Especially if it’s a difficult relationship, difficult day, or difficult situation. One of my mentors has ALL her texts silenced. ALL OF THEM. ALL THE TIME. Like…. ALWAYS. And I did NOT like knowing that when I text her, she will NOT be notified. LIKE EVER! EVER! I have to wait on her to decide to get on her phone, check her messages, and decide to reply. And you know what? I value her texts and replies SO much more than before. TRY it. Delay your response. Take your time. See if the peace, depth, and richness in your conversation doesn’t deepen. I’ll bet it does.
DELAYING in other little areas:
Eating. I do intermittent fasting. I never eat before 3pm, and I stop eating at 9pm every day. EVERY day. The stuff I DO eat in that window better be HEALTHY and YUMMY! I only drink TONS of water and black coffee outside of that window. Wondering if it’ll work for you? The book “Delay, don’t Deny” may be one you might like to read. A few years ago, I lost 50 pounds over about 9 months time, and my hip pain and arthritis went away, as well as poor sleeping tendencies. It’s not for everyone, but learning to live with a little hunger has helped strengthen me in so many ways.
Speaking. Take a breath. Hum for a second. Count to ten. Often, the chance to speak has passed. Maybe you didn’t need to. Maybe it’s better you didn’t. Maybe not, and now you’ve thought out your statement a little more thoroughly and concisely can communicate your thoughts.
Intervening. I’m assuming, since you’re on a homeschooling blog, you’re a parent. When you see an issue with your child - he fell, he is crying, she is about to make a mistake, there’s an argument, she can’t reach the drawer, or is struggling with opening a jar, pouring a drink, or writing a letter or finishing a math problem. Count in your head to ten AT LEAST. Give it a little delay. You’ll be astonished at how much gets fixed in a ten second delay. The STRETCH is worth it.
Which area speaks to you the most? Do think the idea of DELAY being GOOD for you can benefit you and your family? I’d love to read your comments.