Tuesday, October 24, 2006

JOURNAL: October 24, 2006

Over the weekend, I realized something wonderful – that I can get great enjoyment from doing every action, big or small, important or trivial, in a thoughtful and careful manner. This was most apparent when I was grading student essays. I’ve graded thousands of essays over the years, and sometimes I have done it – to be honest – in a fairly casual manner, just hoping to get the job done as quickly as possible. This weekend, however, I wrote my comments slowly and precisely, with as beautiful handwriting as possible. I took pleasure in forming the letters and words in a graceful manner, and I made sure that my entire comment had an elegant and orderly appearance. It was almost as though I was constructing a small work of art with each comment, a little piece of shipshape writing I could stand back and admire. It was great fun. I pictured my students receiving their papers, reading my conscientiously composed comments, and feeling grateful – even happy – that I took the time to write in such a painstaking way. They might, I thought, have a little greater appreciation (as I do) for the joy that performing actions in a tidy and precise way can bring. They might even have a greater admiration (as I do) for the meticulous way in which nature operates. When they’re reading my comments on their essays, they might look out the window and notice a tree with its perfectly-presented autumn colors, or a breeze blowing precisely the way it must through the garden beside my classroom.

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