12 Things I Learned in May {2016}

12 Things I Learned in May {2016}

Happy Memorial Day! Though this “token holiday” is seldom viewed as more than a celebration of summer’s arrival, it is intended as a day of memory and reflection. So it’s a fitting day to be reflecting on all I’ve learned this May.

My learning of late has been both broad and deep, ranging from fun pieces of trivia to paradigm-shifting realizations, and everything in between. God has been doing quite a bit of behind-the-scenes work in me and I’m curious to see where it all leads. For now, I’m content to simply observe and record. Here is my randomly-ordedred collection of 12 things I’ve learned this month.

What I Learned in May

1. I might have a problem with pre-crastination.

Adam Grant coined this term to describe “the urge to start a task immediately and finish it as soon as possible,” and according to Grant, this tendency can seriously stifle creativity. I hate putting things off (I guess that makes me a precrastinator), but I have to admit that I experience a surge of adrenaline and creativity in those times when I do procrastinate.

2. Luke and I have a surprisingly “normal” love story.

We met on eHarmony in 2007; at the time I didn’t know many people who had met their spouses on the internet, but it has become increasingly common. According to a study conducted by Berkley, 1 in 10 Americans have used a dating site or app, and 23% of online daters have met a spouse or long term partner through these sites.

Luke and Kendra

3. People can be cruel online.

This obviously isn’t a new revelation, but I’d always assumed this tendency was due to the anonymity afforded by the internet. I recently joined the Facebook group for our association and have been shocked by the behavior of some of the members, who freely hurl vicious comments at their NEIGHBORS—people whom these rude commentors know and see on a regular basis. I doubt that these unkind individuals would be so disrespectful to their neighbors in a face-to-face interaction, yet they feel free to act this way behind the safety of their computer screen. This makes me very sad.

4. Cory Monteith looked a lot like a young Ben Affleck.

I’d never made this connection until we watched Good Will Hunting this month and I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was seeing Finn Hudson in the role of Chuckie.

Cory Monteith Ben Affleck Twins!

5. Women buy over 80% of self-help books.

This statistic is likely skewed by the fact that women buy a greater percentage of ALL books, but it does speak to the female tendency toward perfectionism. I wonder how this statistic would be different if dieting books were taken out of the equation and business books were factored in.

6. It’s a good idea to clean out the lint from your dryer screen.

I was wondering why our clothes were taking such a long time to dry. . . .

Dryer Lint

7. Blogging MORE is easier than blogging less.

I got this idea from Gretchen Rubin, who found it easier to blog daily rather than weekly because it kept her from being too perfectionistic with her posts. I’ve been implementing the strategy since returning from my blogging break, and I’ve found that upping my posting schedule to four posts per week is indeed less stressful for me. I’m actually spending less time blogging and finding it more rewarding.

8. We apparently chose a good town to live in!

Before moving to Cedar Park, we knew little about it other than it seemed nice and was the right distance from Austin. But a sign in our town library informed me that, according to Family Circle, it’s actually one of the best places in the nation to raise a family. Awesome!

Our comical attempt at recreating the poster image.
Our comical attempt at recreating the poster image.

9. Elementary students shouldn’t be given homework.

According to recent research, homework isn’t beneficial for elementary school students and might actually be detrimental for a number of reasons. I felt differently when I was a teacher, but in retrospect I can see that the homework I assigned was ineffective and wish I had handled the homework situation differently.

10. My once-tame podcast habit is suddenly shaking up my belief systems.

A few months ago I wrote about the “aha moment” that came from listening to the Vox podcast—that I need to be more concerned with loving others than with giving the appearance of condoning sin; this simple idea changed my perspective on several hot-button issues. Mike’s weekly messages have continued to challenge me, as have a few other recent podcasts. An episode of Sorta Awesome has me rethinking my views on homelessness, and the Liturgists’ discussion of racism has led me to reevaluate my thoughts on race, racism, and white supremacy in America. I don’t agree with all that was said in either of these two podcasts, but they have stirred up all sorts of challenging new ideas. I haven’t arrived at any conclusions and am realizing that the older I get and the more I learn, the less I truly know. But with age has also come an acceptance that I won’t always have all the answers, and that’s okay. I would rest within grey territory than be sure about something that is wrong.

Podcast Learning

11. I need to be the mom that Charlie needs me to be, and not the mom that other people tell me I should be.

This is something I’ve known for a while, but it’s been coming up more and more as Charlie is getting older. I’ve been pondering what this looks like: in what ways does my parenting reflect society’s expectations of me, and how does that differ from what Charlie truly needs? This goes against my people-pleasing tendencies but is much more in line with my personal values, not to mention the wellbeing of my family. On a related note, I’m learning that. . .

12. One of the best gifts we can give our kids—or really anyone—is our okay-ness.

Emily Freeman wrote about this in a newsletter a while back and it’s really stuck with me, this reminder that because of who I am in Christ, I am okay. This doesn’t mean I won’t feel or express crummy emotions, but even in the worst of circumstances I can remember that God is carrying me. I am FAR from perfect at receiving God’s daily offering of grace, but I am more motivated than ever before by a desire to model this acceptance for my son.

IMG_6778

I’d love to hear what you’ve been learning this month! And if you’d like to read more posts like this, head to the monthly What I Learned link-up, where I am joining Emily Freeman and a community of other bloggers to share what we learned in May!

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