Sometimes It is Much Better to Be Late
Warning to North Americans and Europeans: This posting may create some negative side effects to your cultural selves.
This morning I did something interesting. I actually listened to my own advice. I had invited a few colleagues from other schools to a planning meeting to schedule games and other sports events. The meeting was to be held at my school in my office. At 6:30 am this morning I realized that my office was the wrong venue, that it would be full of distractions and give me the rushed feeling of all the little tasks that I do each morning. So I sent text messages to all of the participates and told them to meet at the local Coffee Bean.
Shortly after I arrived at the Coffee Bean, one of the others came. The third said he would be late so it gave the first to arrive and myself time to chat about our lives. We didn’t talk at all about sport or schedules or anything like that. We talked about babies because his wife is now 3 months pregnant and it has already changed his life in very interesting ways. When the third person came, he apologized for being late and didn’t go to get any coffee because he thought that maybe we should start the meeting. We told him that we had all of the time in the world, to just go and get what he wanted.
The meeting went longer than maybe any of us planned so just for good measure I stayed longer and chatted some more with others when the meeting was over. I began to practice the process of disregarding time so that I could be in the space that I wanted to be in. It worked spectacularly because I accomplished not just one task, but also another. We scheduled the games and we became closer. Had I not disregarded time the chance to have a better relationship with my colleague would have passed.
So when I taught my classes with my 5 year olds today, I did the same thing. I decided that I could just stretch time inside myself, and get my students into a really positive space. What happens to me usually is that I tend to get worried that my students are not going to pay attention, that they are going to just goof off and do their inappropriate things. I decided that I could relax and slow myself inside and pay attention to how I wanted the class to go rather than what might go wrong. It worked amazingly like nothing I could ever do in previous years.
Slowing down time seems to help me relax and get into the right space. It may seem strange to be able to think of time as being so flexible, but we all know how long time seems to drag when we have to listen to boring speakers. The most important aspect of being able to control the space you are in so that it becomes desirable is one’s ability to disregard time, and the first step in disregarding it seems to be to slow it down by relaxing.
You don’t always need to be in a hurry and sometimes being later is much better than rushing.