Do We set the Bar too High?
As I come to the end of the Saturday morning course that I am giving for children aged 8 to 13-years-old at IT,Tralee for the Centre for the Talented Youth of Ireland on forensic archaeology this week, I wonder to myself, did I push too hard to get things done? Granted I had to do stuff to a certain academic level and cover certain topics with wittily illustrated presentations, but I wonder was there another way of making it more fun? Granted there were two simulated excavations using play sand, a few forensic mysteries for the students to solve involving missing persons and lots of ideas for them to draw on the page and collaborate with each other on, but let’s look at myself and how I went about it.
In spite of the best of intentions to get the course material covered during the week, I spent Friday nights staying up until 12am trying to get everything ready with the result that I was stretched to the limit and took a few days to recover thus throwing me out for the next few days into the following week. This created a vicious cycle that where I realized that my resistance to getting the work done well before the course was caused by my attitude towards having everything perfect rather than accepting that everything would not be perfect.
The downside is that in the struggle to get everything perfect I lost the ability to appreciate and congratulate myself for the work I had done with the given that the resistance would increase every time I worked on the course. Of course now I view things differently and recognize that creating a course is a work of art – not something that needs to be forced. In Julia Cameron’s Walking in This World, she refers to art as being therapeutic and says that while therapy seeks to offer answers and normalize people, art is more like a statement of being, less a method to try and understand why.
My point is that in analyzing my work and trying to perfect it, I lost some of the flow, which would have made the process more enjoyable. I guess for the next course I design, I will be seeing it as a artistic vision, a creative process rather than an enforced one. For me that is a great way to lower impossible standards and make things more manageable while making the work more fun also. Now I’m off to enjoy crafting the last session for my forensic archaeology course!