There’s a saying somewhere about the sins of the father catching up with the children. I would tell you about it, but I put off looking it up…

I am a procrastinator. There, I said it. But if you’ve been around these parts long at all, you already know this.

There are times when having a “just go with it” mentality pays off. For example, my family has a blast on vacations, and I think a lot of that comes from just letting the day come as it will. I love seeking out little adventures when I am on tour, and a lot of these happen because I “just go with it”. Hey, it works.

But then there are times like now. It is a week before Christmas, and like everybody, I am ridiculously busy. Between Christmas parties and shopping and finishing up with the kids’ school, there’s not really any room for error. But added to that mix, I’m reading a book every day this week. Yup. That’s probably worth an explanation.

My daughter Abbie came home from school the other day upset. She had a project where she was supposed to read 5 books and do a report. I was ready to give my Anne Lamott “bird by bird” speech. But then I did a little math in my head. Her project is due Thursday, and with her fourth grade reading speed, there is NO WAY she can read all these books in time and write a report.

Then, like Adam West era Batman, it came to me.

I’ve…got…a…plan.

“Abbie, do you have to read all of them yourself, or can you read them with your parents?”

“The teacher said we could read them with our parents.”

“OK sit down. Let’s go.”

Abbie and I sat down. I got some firewood off the porch and got a fire going in the fireplace. We reclined on a bunch of pillows as the fire began crackling in the background.

I cleared my throat.

Then I began to read aloud “The Secret Seven” by Enid Blyton at absolute breakneck speed. We started the book at about 8 PM. I only paused once to get a glass of water. By 9:30 I crossed the book’s finish line.

It was really strange. But a good strange. It felt really fast for me to read it out loud, but it was just right for the listener. Abbie got it. She actually loved the book. And I did too. Last night we repeated the process with a Nancy Drew book. It was actually a little tougher reading. I liked this one a little more, but Abbie didn’t track quite as much with this one. it was a “newer” Nancy Drew book and a little more YA than the classic ones. But we still really enjoyed it.

Tonight we’re going to read a third book. Combined with one that she had already read and another that we had recently finished together, she will get her five books in.

And the funniest thing happened in the process.

We had a blast.

“So, Jo Jo, what did you learn today?”*

  • I learned that procrastination is neither good nor bad. It is a work habit. If that’s the way you operate, and you still get things done, accept it. You can certainly change it, but if it works, it’s a starting point.
  • I learned that memories are made when you do things out of the ordinary. Even though this was crazy, I know Abbie and I will remember this and talk about it for a long time. And it’s going to be a fun memory!
  • I learned that kids have to take ownership of their own habits. Through this process, Abbie learned that she probably could plan ahead next time. I helped her with the reading, but she’s doing the report. We can help her, but it’s up to her to own it.
  • Most of all, I was reminded that the important thing is not how it gets done, but THAT IT GETS DONE. In my line of work, it’s fun to do the interviews and talk about how the songs got written and the album got recorded. But you can’t do that if you don’t DO THE WORK**.
  • Moving forward from this experience, I think I’m going to set a blogging schedule. I will post to this blog on certain days, every week NO MATTER WHAT.

Bottom line: DO THE WORK.

* If you have children of a certain age, you will remember Jo Jo’ Circus. At the end of every episode they asked that question…

** There’s a great Steven Pressfield book with that title. Definitely worth a read!

 

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