A writing prompt
When Divina Grey tagged me in a writing prompt, I was unsure of what to write. I haven’t written anything in several months — for lots of reasons. Most notably, it just got harder for me to write this past year. I’ve been lost. It was hard to concentrate and tough to determine what to write about. So many things are happening at once.
I kind of felt out of place in 2020. As others worked from home, my work just kept going — masked up — but we never stopped going in. Overtime was pretty much always authorized and frequently encouraged. About mid-2020, I started taking a one year long “masters-degree-lite” program. I signed up for it in 2019 when life was a little more normal, but it got delayed, and since I made a commitment to do it (thru work), I’m “in it to win it” for another few months. Separately, my marriage s surviving and my kids are doing okay, given that we went to homeschooling in Sept of 2020.
That’s probably where most of my creativity went this year. After multiple iterations, I think I’ve found a way to teach my oldest (13 years old) school in a way that we can both accept (my wife took on teaching the younger 7 year old). We start with breakfast and medication (ADHD meds for him, OCD meds for me). Then it’s right to math — I found an online program that serves up math problems one at a time, and I just help him with whatever shows up. Then we do two pages of reading out loud — because when I asked him to read to himself, he didn’t really read it. Next is history. This year is US history, so we found a kind of textbook for him to read out loud, then we discuss a few pages at a time. We started around Reconstruction (which was very relevant in late 2020), and have worked our way to the 1920’s (also very relevant with the pandemic and all). Since I’m teaching it and there is no history test for him this year, I have some freedom though. We were able to focus on how Reconstruction’s abrupt stop led to the systemic racism we still see today. This past week we began talking about the Kurgans / PIE speakers, who bought their dominance based culture to what is now Europe before 4000 BC and how it led to aspects of culture we’ve seen in the past century in the US. In between lessons, we do push ups, pull ups and flutter kicks as gym class and he finishes with online foreign language lessons and some music app to help with guitar. At that point, I’m off to work, albeit with hours shifted late. It’s crazy, but we’ve made it work.
Along the way, I’ve tried to find ways that I can contribute to the larger world despite my limited influence. I try to do that with seed saving in my garden and soil building thru my vermi-posting bins. I struggle with how to help address inequalities in our world though. My world is pretty isolated. Lately I’ve been reading books and working to building a network of early career engineers online — mostly women and/or African American in an attempt to get more hired at my work (aerospace engineering company). We have summer internships and sometimes bursts of hiring. My plan is to have a network of folks to spread the word when hiring waves start. It’s an idea — we’ll see how it works.
I have no idea how 2021 will turn out. I’m still exhausted and distracted and struggling to eat right, but… I have hope. I hope your 2021 is moving in the right direction.
P.S. Thanks for reading. I know that my writing is not at its best. I’m struggling right now. But I’m trying to write more regularly in the hope that it will lead to better things.