Lack of proper planning can cause stress at any age

October 12, 2007|By LISA PREJEAN

"Uh, Mom, remind me tomorrow to ask in the school office for my planner in case it was turned in to lost and found because I left it on a desk at lunch and when I went back for it, it wasn't there so I think maybe someone picked it up accidentally thinking it was theirs and they might have it in their bookbag or perhaps their locker not knowing that they have something that doesn't belong to them, and I don't want to forget to ask for it because it has information in it that I really need for school like when tests are and when projects are due and stuff like that, so can you remind me to do that?"

It was the end of a typical school day. As a teacher, I had taught lessons, checked papers and listened to little voices all day, so my mind was having a little trouble keeping up with my son's discourse on his planner.


My first thought was that I need to congratulate his soccer coach on keeping him in such good shape. He didn't even take a breath as his words tumbled out.

I certainly felt winded when he finished.

Perhaps he has a future as a politician. Filibusters would be no problem.

Each time he approaches me in this manner, I think of the educator who evaluated him when he was 6.

She said he was challenged verbally. Most children who read as much as he does talk more, especially when asked about themselves.

I just smiled. She had no idea what he was like outside of the classroom.

As a teacher, I think of that off-base evaluation often and attempt to avoid "labeling" children.

Sometimes, kids are just shy or they're having a bad day or they stayed up too late. My son falls into all those categories, particularly the last one if he's reading a good book.

I digress. Back to the subject at hand.

The first planner has yet to be found, so a backup is being used.

Or, perhaps I should say my son has a backup.

I can give him credit for writing down the assignments.

Checking the backup planner at the appropriate time has been a little challenging, though.

Monday after school he told me he needed a photo of himself.

"You need it by tomorrow?" I asked as we were driving home.

He nodded.

"Did you just find out about this today?"

He shook his head.

"Please tell me these things when you are first told of them."

A faint, "OK," drifted up from the back seat.

After we arrived home, he fed the dog and worked on a book report while I got supper, did laundry and graded papers.

Tuesday morning I was upstairs brushing my daughter's hair into a pony tail when a frantic voice called up, "Mom, where are our most recent photos?"

I pulled out a pack of photos taken this summer, handed it to him and ushered him out the door.

Later I asked him what made him remember the photo.

"I looked at my planner," he said.

I asked him if he thought there would be a better time to look at his planner, perhaps after dinner the night before.

He agreed that it would be better to do it then rather than five minutes before we walk out the door in the morning.

"How did you feel when you looked at your planner and realized that you didn't have your photo yet?" I asked.

He said it turned a morning that was looking pretty good into a morning that suddenly became stressful.

I'm glad he's learning at age 12 that a lack of planning causes stress as a deadline approaches.

That's a good lesson to learn at any age.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail. Send e-mail to her at

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