Many years ago, our then five-year-old son trudged into the kitchen.
“I don’t wanna go back to school.” He dropped his Ninja Turtle backpack on the floor and crossed his tiny arms to emphasize the point. “Mrs. C doesn’t like questions and she doesn’t like teaching kids either.”
Surely, he’d misjudged Mrs. C. The teacher we’d just met at Open House a week earlier seemed warm, welcoming, and open to creative little spirits and their quandaries.
I knelt and met my child at eye level. “What makes you say that, honey?”
“’Cause if we wanna know something, she says ‘Not Now’ or ‘Go back to your seat.’ And…if we have a problem, she tells us to go write it on the problem board.”
“Problem board? What’s that?”
“It’s that big board on wheels with lots of white paper.”
Ah…yes. The one at the front of the classroom. I remembered seeing it at Open House.
“Well, did you need help with a question?”
“No. I had a problem.” My son’s face clouded. “Tommy took all my pencils and snapped them in two. When I tried to tell Mrs. C she said, ‘Go write it down on the problem board and then your problem will go away.’”
Really? What kind of nonsense was that?
“And so, what did you do?”
“I wrote my name on the problem board. And then Mrs. C laughed at me and said ‘You have a problem with yourself?’”
Even today, I still frown at the memory.
What I eventually deduced:
- Most five-year-olds might be able to write their name, but very few write in complete sentences yet. Therefore, blank space on Mrs. C’s problem board equaled—well—no problem! Ever.
- Mrs. C’s methodology for handling her classroom on a day-to-day basis was far different from what my husband and I observed at Open House. “I try to make things as easy for the students and myself as I can. The less complicated, the better,” she told a group of parents one day.
- By easy and less complicated she meant unencumbered by demands, decisions, and anything else that required more than marginal effort.
I found that mindset disturbing, and to this day, Mrs. C’s words and attitude still resonate. It was and is so heartbreaking.
God doesn’t grant us creativity to waste, but He does set the bar high. He expects us to use good judgment when using our talents.
For writers and many other professionals, words like easy and uncomplicated rarely mesh with success.
Most of us know by now that with anything worth having (a long-held dream, goal, or career), there’s going to be work involved.
Ignoring “problems,” neglecting the obvious, and expending little energy aren’t endearing qualities. They invite complacency and undermine God’s plan for our lives.
It’s a tough climate for writers just now, but heaven help us if we come to think of our craft as not worth the effort!
If you’re new to the writing journey or if you’ve been at the process a while, I hope you’ve decided to dig in your heels and not settle for the uncomplicated.
I hope you’ll think through, rise above, and go beyond the “problem boards” of life, yet be confident enough to realize, too, sometimes, that’s where the real stories are.
Go tackle some white space.
Don’t be afraid to write on it!
*This post first appeared on my blog.
Can you think of a time when you felt ignored or that your problem didn’t matter?
How did you handle it?
Writers, anything you’re tackling on your “problem board” today?
Cynthia writes Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction from the beautiful Ozark Mountains. A hopeless romantic at heart, she enjoys penning stories about ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances.
“Cindy” has a degree in psychology and a background in social work. She is a member of ACFW, ACFW MozArks, and RWA.
Cindy loves to connect with friends at: http://www.authorcynthiaherron.com/
She also hangs out here:
For love, fun, and encouragement ~