Tuesday, November 5, 2013

November 5: Concern for Your Future, Observation, Prayer for Strength

"Do you feel absolutely no concern for your future, boy?"

Holden's teacher, Old Spencer, poses this question to Holden at the beginning of Catcher.  Spencer's trying to "put some sense" into  Holden's head.  After all, Pencey Prep is the latest in a line of schools Holden has flunked out of.  The future is not in the forefront of Holden's priorities, to say the least.

I am the exact opposite of Holden.  The future is constantly in my thoughts.  And that is just as unhealthy as not giving a crap about the future.  It causes sleepless nights.  Anxious days.  Distraction.  Unhappiness.  Plagues of frogs.  You get the idea.

My current cause for anxiety is a classroom observation.  As part of my yearly evaluation at the university, I must be observed by a full-time faculty member.  My number is up this Thursday.  I will have a guest in the back of my classroom, taking notes, watching my every move, waiting for me to make mistakes.

OK, I'm exaggerating.  The guy is simply there to do a job.  He told me not to get worried or stressed.  However, being the kind of person I am (Type AAA), I can't really follow his advice.  I have to prepare a lesson plan that makes me look good.  Or at least intelligent.  At the very least, I want to look like I know what I'm doing.

That's my goal.  That's my prayer.

Dear God,

Sometimes I think of You as the guy in the back of my classroom, taking notes on my screwed-up life.  That's not a very comforting image, and it's probably not very accurate, to boot.  Unfortunately, I grew up eating helpings of guilt every day.  I can't help myself.

In the next couple of days, could You please help me out?  I need some strength and courage to make it through my class observation on Thursday.  I'm a good teacher.  I know that.  I shouldn't be worried.  I know that, too.  But, again, I can't help myself.  I'm hardwired for worry, stress.  I can't help myself.

So, strength.  Give me strength.  And confidence.  I could use some of that, too.  Strength and confidence.  You did it for Moses.

Your loving child,

Saint Marty

Chapter One:  How to Not Shit Yourself

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