Living the Desperately Optimistic Life, Part Two

March 22, 2010

Here’s more of my advice for letting go when you’re a student (advice I’m still living by even though I’m no longer in school):

• Train everyone to pick things up and put them away. My mantra, repeated often to everyone, was that there’s more than one kind of homework and we all do what needs to be done. This is related to what I tell my students in the classroom: I don’t care who left the trash on the table; if you see it, put it into the trashcan.

• Not only do you NOT have to do everything, you don’t have to be good at everything you do. This goes for school too. Give more weight and time to courses in your major or ot those that represent your passions and your vision for your future. All A’s probably isn’t necessary. Let go of your expectations for yourself. This doesn’t meant that I’m recommending that anyone blow off their classes. No. Do the reading, write the papers, participate, attend, study for tests, but don’t feel that you must always do your best at everything.

• If you do want to apply for scholarships, look around. They don’t all require high GPAs—some are looking for other very specific things (and it can be a lot of work to find ones for which you qualify, so plan in time to do this if you need money you won’t have to pay back). If a high GPA is a must for a particular scholarship and you won’t be able to stay in school without the money, involve your family in discussions about the ramifications of the situation and enlist their support. They may have to take on more of other home burdens to give you more time to study.

• A from-the-refrigerator and cupboards “floor picnic” is preferable to a fancy high-stress-on-parent meal. Both my children remember fireplace s’mores for supper. None of the good meals I prepared because of guilt were even a blip on their mom-radar screens.

• Make sure your children learn how to cook. Make sure everyone else in the household does too.

• Being broke and being poor are not synonymous. The only expectations you should have for your life are your own. Let go of what you ought to have or should do. Thrift shopping is really okay. Kids really enjoy this kind of bargain and treasure hunting.

Still more on letting go tomorrow, with I.F. and E. yet to come!

What’s your favorite childhood memory? Ask three other people this question too—you’ll get some great parenting ideas for now (or in the future) from the answers.

Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.
• John Lennon



  1. This is a poem, a true story of my life.

    Wake up there’s something wrong.

    Something in bed that doesn’t belong.

    It woke me from a peaceful sleep

    And with my hand I did sweep

    That cold slime from within my bed

    The place where I would rest my head.

    What was that thing caught in my hair?

    It caused a fleeting thought of scare.

    Then end the moment’s waking ponder

    To fall asleep and think no longer.

    Till in the light when I did wake

    The proof of truth made my heart ache.

    For what I saw, a shiny trail

    Lead up my bed and ponytail.

    Up and round, onto my neck

    Where in the night I did fleck

    The slimy visitor in the night

    Who came without my dreams invite.

    Connie Coffman

    * When you’re camping under the stars, put your hair in the bed otherwise slugs will get tangled in your hair as they crawl over you when you sleep.

    • Well, I can’t keep up with responding, but I can’t ignore this contribution to Yuckology 101. You are destined for your fifteen seconds of Zinnfame as I share this fabulousity with others! W-OZ

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