Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Channeling Mrs. Rogers--Big Breath, Eyes In

I signed the kids up for swimming lessons this summer with Mrs. Rogers. Unlike the high school students at the community pool and unlike me, Mrs. Rogers is undeterred by sobbing, screaming, flailing, and dramatic claims about a sick stomach or a hurt toe.  In short, Mrs. Rogers is no pushover. Mrs. Rogers is just what we needed. 

"Big breath, eyes in," she told Sweetie. 
"I can't do it!!" Sweetie sobbed. 
"But you can! and I'm right here to help," she said, and propelled Sweetie under the water to the wall. 
After 3 days, Sweetie was begging me to stay for her lessons to watch her swim, and oh, don't forget the camera.  [note: the above pic is with Mrs. Rogers's teenage assistant.] Mrs. Rogers told Sweetie she could swim and made her realize, by doing it, that she really could swim. It was a reminder to me about the process of self-confidence.  Oftentimes the best way to get over feeling unsure and scared is just to do it, big breath, eyes in. A lot of times actually doing it is the only thing that makes me realize that I really CAN do it.

Easier said than done, though, right? I've been working for the past 2 months on 2 different chapters of my dissertation, one of which is a draft of the introduction. My dissertation advisor told me, "Just start by writing what literacy scholars have said about literacy, religion, and sponsorship and then articulate what and why your project contributes to this scholarship." Oh, okay. It requires great self-confidence to say what I think the entire field of literacy scholars have said on these 3 things and what they're missing--what I'm adding to them. It's been easy to doubt myself and my ability to do this dissertation. I'll take a breath, put my eyes in, and then, whoops, raise them right back out again. I guess I need a Mrs. Rogers, or someone to channel her.  Tell me I can do it! (too bad you can't also tell me you'll be right there to help!) 

Today's thankful 3:
1.  fake laughing with my kids
2.  my new laptop, which is guaranteed to unblock all writers' blocks (one can always hope, right?)
3.  talking with an old friend


Dena said...

You can do it! I've always admired how shcolarly you are and how dedicated you are to your schooling and dreams. Once you're actually done, you'll see that you not only can you do it, but that you did a great job that you can truly be proud of!

Of course I realize that it is always difficult to have the confidence we'd like along the way. I think it's that way with anything that is truly important to us.

Good Luck!

Amy said...

great post!! You can do it!!

mwells said...

I know where you live... I will come over and put your face back in if needed! :) I continue to be amazed at your dedication and success! Keep it up... you can almost see the finish line!

Annie said...

Hi there, I stumbled across your blog through a link on someone else's etc. Bravo to you! I'm an LDS, PhD student mom, too. We should form a support group :).

Good luck. Keep pushing the boulder forward, one nudge at a time!

bluestocking mama said...

Annie, Thanks for the good wishes. I'll gladly form a support group! Where are you at in your program?