“I don’t get why we have to do this dumb school Mom. This typing program is the worst.”
I’ve heard that same repetitive speech every day from him since we started that typing program last spring.
He hates that it often feels difficult and relentless and that it takes so long to complete each level.
He declares that the man inside the program dictating the words and letters to him is annoying.
But guess what? He’s continued to practice his typing day after day regardless of his feelings about it, and because of his dedication to the repetition, over the course of all of these months he has become better at it.
He’s become more capable. His fingers are starting to find their rhythm. It also turns out that the ‘man with the annoying voice’ has actually inadvertently taught him how to spell a whole pile of three letter words.
And that’s not all. That annoying program has also taught him the importance of not quitting.
It’s taught him that a lot of things in life require hard work, and that often that work is monotonous and repetitive.
It’s taught him that you don’t always have to like what you’re doing.
And it’s taught him that being angry over the thing you have to do anyway is just a giant waste of time and energy.
And all of these things have solidified these truths inside of his mother as she has watched him on his ‘typing program journey.’
“Hey, you do know that I also don’t like a lot of the things that I have to do everyday too, right?”
He stares at me blankly with a toast crust hanging out of the side of his mouth. I’m standing at the counter spreading yet more peanut butter and honey on the pile of toast on the plate.
“You know I don’t like changing your brother’s diaper right? Or tsunami bath hour? I also don’t like taking the garbage out, figuring out what on earth to cook for dinner every single night, and I especially don’t enjoy having toddlers cry at me two at a time.”
He starts munching his toast again. He’s processing my words and likely thinking that he actually doesn’t like any of those things that he sees me doing all day either.
It’s true, I don’t like a lot of my actual work, but I do like the result of my work.
I like a clean house, I like clean kids, and I sure do like eating dinner.
Over the years I have thrown my share of tiny temper tantrums over my life’s version of ‘that typing program.’ But it’s often been in those very moments of throwing my head back in a frustrating “Ugggggh!” that I realize that I am, like my son, becoming more capable with each repetitive motion. I am becoming more disciplined, and I am finding my rhythm too.
Repetition. All of those things that you do over and over again, just to instantly find them undone and in need of ‘doing’ once again.
The diaper changing, the floor sweeping, the nose wiping, the LEGO scooping, the dinner making, the wall scrubbing, the tantrum managing…
But… It’s a gift if you learn to not despise the repetitive.
It’s a gift to learn to be disciplined to keep doing what needs to be done regardless of how you feel.
And it’s a gift to look back and see how far you’ve come after working so very hard for so very long.
So keep typing my son. You are learning so much more than the location of the j key on the computer. You don’t see it yet, all of that stuff you’re embedding in your very soul; but one day, you will. And I have a sneaking suspicion that you might even grin at me for a second and say, “Thanks Mom.”