Monday, February 21, 2011

Will Forces

 It's the first real day of our winter break, which of all the breaks in our school year I find the most necessary.  In case you didn't know, I am a teacher.   The busy fall term leads to Christmas vacation, which is wonderful and wonderfully busy.  Coming back after the New Year is full of recovering from too much eating, drinking and merry making.  Kids often get sick as they try to make it to ski club and finally when we are all at our Northeast palest, winter break arrives.  Winter break takes what feels like this pile of embroidery floss and gives me time to take a refreshing cold breath and sit down to unravel the knots.

 I began the day locating all my embroidery and cross stitch materials and then carrying them to the dining room (again).  I laughed out loud as I found many "organized" projects already in plastic bags - by this I mean materials purchased, floss cut and threaded through labeled cards, fabric carefully taped around the edges and in some cases on hoops.  The reason I laughed is that while I did all this prep work, somehow I never actually put the needle through the fabric in most of these projects!

Why???  I think it has to do with what can be called "will forces."  This term is used in the phrase "the will to work."  What prevents me from taking the step from the set-up to the execution??  Well, I pondered this as I wound those pesky skeins of embroidery floss onto little cardboard pieces, so I could actually see what colors I have.  As I did this, my Little Miss Maia was glued to my side as usual.  She had a million questions for me along the way about what each piece was, what the tools were, when was lunch going to be ready, and could she try.  It was then that it dawned on me!!  I tend to have this expectation and anxiety that as soon as I get started on any project, I will get interrupted.  So.... it is better to not start rather than suffer the interruptions!! Hmmmm... sound familiar??

 Little Miss was relentless in her desire to do this work, so I set her up on one of the twelve (yes twelve) embroidery hoops I discovered in my gathering.  She drew a picture on a piece of paper, I helped her transfer it to a piece of muslin and after a little demonstration, she was off to the races.  Children are all will forces, focused on what they want and eager to be at meaningful work and play.  She chatted about school, what she was going to do with her little embroidered picture and when was dinner going to be ready....

I continued to pick my way through the skeins of floss, carefully winding threads, that in some cases were from my teens.  She triumphantly announced that she was done, eager to take it off the hoop and get to hemming the edges so her precious project could grace the bed of her tiny baby doll.  Her sense of accomplishment was so radiant that I couldn't help but applaud.

There is a lot to gain from watching a child at work.  While they can be distracted, if they are eager to accomplish something, there is no deterring them from their goal.  They have the will to work and it is admirable. Try interrupting them and you face a battle that is difficult to fight.  I am again humbled by the lessons children teach us and I used my observations to turn the tables on her later in the afternoon.  She tried her hardest to interrupt my goal of sorting and winding the floss, but I would not be deterred!

I was quietly thrilled to finally, after fifteen years, have that box of jewel toned embroidery floss ready for my work.

1 comment:

  1. Miss Maia... what beautiful work you did! I am sure your baby doll will love to be covered in such a wonderful blanket!!
    12 hoops... wow! And you thought I was bad :) I think I could still beat you in the mitten catergory though.