You know what’s beautiful? When you suddenly “get it” that classical-minded integration isn’t just for school subjects. We talk all day long about how Latin can help you with science, literature can help you with history, and math can help you with art, but it never occurred to me that maybe Job 1 (full-time editor) could help me with Job 2 (part-time dance teacher) or Job 3 (newly contracted Challenge B director).
I wish I could say that this thought came to me gently as I sat and pondered my life, but, in reality, it came to me as I started to lose my mind driving to dance class.
It had been a tough day, both personally (apartment maintenance meant no water from that day—and I work from home!) and professionally (looming deadlines and many last-minute changes), and I felt like I had nothing left for my first-and-second-grade dance students. Plus, I was supposed to teach them a new dance that day, a dance I hadn’t even had time to learn myself.
Stress and panic rose in my chest. It was one of those “I-See-No-End-In-Sight-Can-I-Maintain-My-Life-For-Even-Five-More-Minutes?” moments. There was just physically and mentally no way to get everything done. How could I possibly do three jobs well? What had I been THINKING saying yes to Challenge B?!
Out of sheer necessity, I decided to integrate the classical model into my dance class that night. It was the only thing I’d been steeped in all day, and I had no mental space for anything else, really. I would ask common topic questions instead of reinventing the wheel. (“How is a degage like a tendu?” “What would happen if we tried to pirouette the other way?”) I would focus on wonder and thinking skills. (“Look how much faster you spin when you bring your arm in close!” “To jump up, what do we have to do first? Yep, we have to bend our knees and plie down first.”)
And I taught from a place of rest, because—frankly—that was the only pace I could manage! What mattered more? Getting that whole new dance learned, or treating the dancers like human souls? You know what we did for the last five minutes of class? We tumbled. We did tumbling instead of cramming in more choreography, because last week I had promised that we would, and these girls need to know that I will keep my promises.
Even after that ugly day, the class was beautiful and good. I had fun, and the girls had fun. My job with classical education had helped me in dance class. Who would’ve thought?
On the way home, the revelation fully hit me: THAT was how I could possibly do three jobs well. I was never going to be able to do them all isolation; there just aren’t enough hours in the day. If I’m going to do these jobs well, I have to maximize my time and make all my work count for double (or triple). My Challenge B preparation has to prepare me for dance class also. My teaching dance has to help me with editing somehow. I need to focus on skills, not subjects. Everything I do can help me with everything I do.
If God is in all school subjects, He is certainly in all my jobs. I’m excited to see where this line of thinking takes me over the next few months.