One of my favorite stories recently came from my dear friend, Monica, an elementary school PE teacher. Monica is a veteran teacher and has taught the past number of years at a Title 1 school in a low-income neighborhood. Monica is admirably passionate about introducing her students to healthy habits that will hopefully last a lifetime.
As with any good teacher, she has classroom rules. Rules that need to be followed in order to ensure the safety of all of her students.
One such rule: Shoes must remain on at all times.
As her gym-full of students danced happily to a rocking CD one afternoon (all the while exercising their cute little bodies), one little boy kept taking his shoes off – bucking her hard-fast rule. Without interruption to the whole class, Monica simply stated, “Billy…you’re going to have to take your shoes and go sit down on the bleachers until you get them back on. You know the rules!”
…as the class cheerfully danced on.
This didn’t sit well with Billy who thoroughly enjoys dancing. Seeing Monica’s stern direction, he picked up his shoes and rushed to the bleachers to get them back on while his classmates kept right on with their dance routine.
Visibly upset, Billy hurriedly struggled to get his shoes on, all the while yelling from the sidelines, “Stop the damn tape! STOP THE DAMN TAPE!!!!!”
I know, I know… This is not becoming language from a first-grader who clearly learned his choice adjectives from someone older than himself. But what I loved was the authenticity of his phrase.
How often have I been spinning in deadlines and bill payments and health scares and family issues when all the while I wanted to simply yell at the top of my lungs, “STOP THE DAMN TAPE!!!”
As Black Friday looms and gift-buying pressures mount. As church obligations and work parties and sick kids pile up all around you. As the weather gets chilly and our propensity for being bit by the flu bug increases, I would encourage you to pause in the midst of the craziness and repeat after me: “STOP THE DAMN TAPE!”
Then, peacefully regain your composure and take the next step toward enjoying a time of year that is to be celebrated – danced through, if you will – and not pressed into a commercialized mold of ‘should-haves’ and ‘have-tos’.
2012 Holiday Season.
You can do it.
You can manage it.
You can successfully dance.
Turn off the tape, the tv, the pressures.
Get off the spinning-out-of-control merry-go-round ride.
Let your inner first-grader soar.
Stop the crazy.
Stop the busy-ness.
Stop the over-achieving.
Stop, the damn tape.