Spring Break and Cleaning the Inside First

Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside will also be clean.

Matthew 23:26 

So it’s Spring Break, which means I have time to think, which means I have time to do a blog post here and there!

I haven’t posted about the WHS job simply because my I don’t have time or energy to post about anything these days.  Things are going as well as can be expected, and I’m really encouraged about what the choirs will look like next year.  Sign-ups and auditions for next year’s ensembles went very well–I was expecting to lose numbers, but it looks like we’ll actually gain numbers in the main group–where it matters most.  I’m already making plans concerning budget, syllabi, concert venues, and competitions for next year; and the process of thinking that stuff through is very exciting.

One of the “non-WHS” tasks on my list today was cleaning the car.  Last year, I got into a new habit when it came time to wash the car–I started detailing the inside first before working on the outside at all.  My previous habit had been to let the inside go for months while continuing to wash the outside of the car regularly. But I noticed that I simply enjoy my car so much more when the inside is clean, that my attitude is sweeter at the end of my trip, that I walk around feeling more positive about life just because I don’t see a layer of dust on my dash and the car smells like Lemon-Scented Pledge.

So, today while I dusted and dug under the seat for AWOL Fritos, I got to thinking about why I’m tired and dragging around these days.  And it occurred to me that I could use a bit of the “detailing the inside first” discipline carried over from my car cleaning habit to my professional life.  It’s a matter of choosing the invisible over the visible, even (and especially) when there are a lot of eyes critiquing the visible and a lot of tongues clucking disapproval.

Choosing the invisible over the visible means choosing to look bad for now in the eyes of the people around you. It means

  • Choosing to do my morning walk over getting to work 30 minutes early.
  • Choosing to focus my students on acquiring music-reading skills over just preparing for a concert.
  • Choosing to clean off my desk every day over fine-tuning a lesson plan.
  • Choosing a smaller, more committed ensemble over a larger (read: more impressive), less disciplined one.
  • Choosing long-term success over short-term success.

It’s the fear that people might find out that I don’t have it all together that ulitmately keeps me from getting it together.  “I have to get something ready for this rehearsal” is not a bad goal, but it must take a back seat to “I have to ensure that I am becoming the kind of person these kids would want to follow and listen to.”

Here’s to an invisible week!

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