How Much is Too Much?

It depends.  Who’s asking?  Ironically, both of my kids started new jobs this week.  As my daughter moves from interning to a career, naturally questions about her hours are of big concern.  As I listened to her reason her way through what would be acceptable in terms of overtime, I was forced to examine my own feelings on the amount of time I’m willing to give my career.  My husband and I both get up early and get to work well before time for school to start.  We both stay at the school till almost 6:00, and then after dinner, sit down to grade and plan classes until we drag ourselves to bed.  We work on Saturdays and Sundays, and we do big work projects at least a portion of our vacation days.  Were we always like this, or is this just because we no longer have kids at home?

   I remember working on weekends early in my career, and I know I stayed up grading quite a lot.  But, I think I did a whole lot less than I do now.  I had kids; they had lives.  I didn’t put their lives on hold for my job.  Truth be told, I had a whole lot less to do back then.  I only taught then.  I was not a part owner and a principal as well as a full-time teacher back then. 

   That made the stakes different.  I put my time into that which I was building.  When my children were home, I was helping them build a successful future.  Therefore, much of my time went into that, including my first years at Lawton Academy.  There was no intent for a high school at LAAS when we came.  It was because my son and one other faculty member’s son wanted to continue into high school that we ever began offering high school.  I suppose that’s about when I started really putting in long hours at Lawton Academy.  My children were as well, though.  We were building a program together, so I guess I was combining the two.

    Now that my kids are adults, I have many hours that were previously spoken for open for development.  I have chosen to put them into building this school into a highly efficient model of what gifted education should look like.  Why?  Oh, I don’t know.  Maybe it’s partly because I hated school.  I vowed to change it.  Learning is fun; why then is school so boring?  I never felt it had to be, and I think we are proving that daily.  Maybe it’s because I see this school as a ministry.  We ask God to bring the ones we can help and take the ones who don’t need us.   Because I feel God does this, it’s very intriguing to me to watch how God uses us in a life, and I love what I learn in the process.  Maybe it’s because watching these kids create and connect and succeed is so highly rewarding that I just have to have more! All I know is that, until there are grandkids to tempt me to be away more often, I do not see my hours lessening, and I am okay with that.

-          Michelle