It’s been a few crazy days of doing shopping, cleaning my house, getting ready to do Solstice and Yule and Christmas with my parents. Thanks for your forbearance, readers, while I got my ducks in a row.
The Dropout Dilettante is running this blogging adventure that I’ve decided to participate in, and this week, the issue is GOAL-SETTING.
As teachers, we all know how important goal-setting is. It’s radically important. The KIPP School program in New York City did a longitudinal study of its graduates earlier this year, and found that the kids who did the best in school weren’t necessarily the best in the world beyond school. Kids with resilience, and character strength — which didn’t really have much to do with KIPP’s main program — did much more to strengthen students’ long-range success than what they learned or didn’t learn in school. So, goals, and goal-setting. Her prompt this week is
What do you want to accomplish in 2012 using both magical and mundane means?
1) I’d like to be physically fitter.
This is a commonplace one this time of year, but let’s see if I can shortcut by defining what “fitter” means here.
Eating healthier is easier for me already. My diet during the week is generally improving. I cook for myself more, and I cook for other people more frequently, too. The less prepared food that I eat, the healthier I tend to be. If I make a point of buying meat from our local butcher, as well, as my friend Chris has started doing, so much the better.
As far as ‘fitter’ is defined, I’d like to be able to do 25 push-ups and 25 sit-ups without stopping and without cheating. I made good progress on this already, and I can make more. Putting the yoga back into my daily practice in the morning, and the tai chi form in the evening, will also help a lot.
I’m always reluctant to talk on this blog about the magical aspect of this. Yet the truth is, we teachers do ourselves (and our students!) a disservice by not talking about magic. Magic, ultimately, is about cultivating the right frame of mind to develop your own script for the life that you want to live; rather than living the life that others have programmed for you. It’s the basis for the resilience that the KIPP Schools were having a hard time inculcating into their students, until they began consciously teaching that mental attitude. Magic is a shortcut to the right mental attitude. The Founding Fathers did magic, why can’t our students?
Accordingly, I’ve made a few sigils related to achieving my ideal weight, increasing my physical flexibility, and increasing my tai chi skills.
2. Launch Design Thinking at my school.
This is also a no-brainer. It’s what I was hired to do. It’s also proving to be quite a successful thing. How could it not? It’s rooted in the Renaissance ideal of “making a thing to know a thing”, and visualizing the results you want, in detail, in specifics. Errors in the sketch are magnified in the model, as Brunelleschi wrote.
Magically, I’ve already done about as much as I can to make this sort of thing a success. I’ve developed a methodology of teaching, and a few related projects for kids to work on. My boss and I need to finalize a few such plans early in the new year, and then we have to hold the two intended conferences for students in January and March, hold the related event for parents in January, and hold the two events for teachers in February and May.
This doesn’t require magic so much as a radically efficient calendar. So the magic required here is calendrical efficiency, and that means going back to more paper planning.
3. Develop Alternate Income Streams.
I’m working on a bunch of such projects. I have my sonnets related to the days of the year that I’d like to publish, and I’m gradually developing some credibility as a teacher of magical ideas and techniques. But I’d really like to take my friends C & J up on their offer to teach a class on geomancy down South. So one of my goals is to put together the advertising and ad copy for that, and design the course itself, over this holiday season. We also want it to be financially successful, both for them and for me, so I’ll do some sigil work around that, too.
4. Become a poet again.
This largely involves writing. I’ve done the magical work around this, and guess what? It’s working!
That’s the good news. The bad news is, I’ve been away from poetry for about three and a half years, and MY MUSE IS ANGRY. People who aren’t creative think that somehow the Muse is a goofy concept that we poets and artists and creative types have invented… and maybe we have invented it/her/them/him. But! That doesn’t change the fact that the poems I’ve written in the last few days have been specifically directed AT ME, FROM MY MUSE, to tell me in no uncertain terms that she is upset, and I’m going to be writing a lot of crud about myself before I get anything good. (Fair warning: Don’t invoke your muse, repeatedly and deliberately and effectively, and then avoid letting her express herself for years.)
So magically, just starting to write again has been hugely helpful. And I’ll plan on keeping that up. My friend Tony Brown argues that one should set a goal for a number of poems to write in a year. Accordingly, I’m going to set a goal to write 500 poems in 2012. That’s more than one a day, but it doesn’t take into account the possibility of writing five or six haiku in the same day. So that seems like a reasonable goal.
5. End Debts.
So this one is a great one for 2012 — I’m already done! As of today, I have no debt on my credit card. Even Christmas is paid for. I could cancel my card before the first of the year, and have no debt for the entirety of 2012. But, I know that I’m going to need a new car before too long.
6. New Car
This is going to require some thinking, and I’m over 1000 words already. So more on goals later, after attending my parents’ open house.