Early in life we prepare; prepare for school, college, jobs, vocations, careers, marriage, children, independent living, and possibly retirement.Â No matter how prepared we are, events occur in our lives that really crinkle our neatly folded life maps…events such as illness, divorce, estrangement, and even death of loved ones.Â In between and around these preparations and events, we strive to carry on in meaningful and useful ways.Â We attempt to continue to live as FUNCTIONAL human beings.Â
My parents allowed me to have horses once I turned eleven.Â My first horse, a Welsh pony, cost $150; the 2nd one $175.Â My family competed in Saturday play days which offered barrel racing, pole bending, and other events at $1 per event.Â I trained my own horses, made my own bridles and reins from ski rope, and traveled in a secondhand trailer.Â Grades had to be kept up.Â I was definitely functional.Â I had a special activity, purpose, or task.Â Horseback riding finally gave way to high school extracurricular activities which also gave me purpose because I performed them, not my parents.Â
Now let’s get to FUN! I had fun growing up and knew it was important for learning.Â As a teacher, I had to post classroom rules.Â They had to be concise and enforceable but not get in the way of the curriculum.Â KISS (Keep it simple, silly!) really is best to prevent boredom before actually getting to the subject matter. When attempting to meet goals and objectives set forth for students and teachers, fun was used to increase desired results and decrease those not desired.Â You had to conduct class with the exuberance of a pop star, drama queen, actress, star athlete, and disciplinarian.Â One of the FUN things most 5th graders remembered was the time I stood on my head for 5 minutes on the stage in the cafeteria after lunch. This was a grade level incentive for a decrease in negative behavior.Â Â
FUDGE! FUDGE! FUDGE! There’s a little shop I visit about 35 miles from my home for fudge every now and again.Â The fudge is the good stuff, but the memories it evokes are even better.Â They go back to simpler times. Times when we as children could ride bikes across town, play outside under street lights, then go inside withÂ our families.Â One of my family rituals was watching The Red Skelton Show. Mama would make some sort of special treat for us like popcorn, brownies, or my favorite, fudge. Daddy would kiddingly call my little sister Clem Kadiddlehopper after one of Red’s characters. She would giggle, I’d roll my eyes, then we’d all settle back to enjoy the rest of the evening.
Functional, fun, fudge….they work for me. What about you?