Readiness. Ready – ness. the state of being fully prepared for something ; willingness to do something.
I use a direct instruction reading program at school on a daily basis. I use it at least three times a day. In every single lesson, the prompt, “Get ready” is used multiple times. Ten or twenty or more, depending on whether the students are getting it (the information) or not. Yep, if they’re not ready to get it, they need to “Get ready” again. And sometimes students can be ready on the outside, but not quite willing. Yes, willingness is a key to readiness. We can have everything in place, but if we’re reluctant, detached, or just not quite eager to participate, the results are markedly different. Being prepared AND willing…that’s where readiness can yield the best results.
So in teaching small groups, some students are literally on the edge of their seat and ready. We say, “Eyes watching’, ears listening, voice quiet, body still”…(the body still part being adhered to loosely for my elementary school babies…) If they are doing these things, their behavior says they are ready. Their demeanor says they are willing. Others, however, are so not. They need some redirects and prompting and rebooting to demonstrate signs of being ready. They need to be encouraged to “get ready”. But as a team, it’s important for all of those in the group to “Get ready” to learn, and the more ready the individuals are, the better the results are as a team. And the thing about this reading program is, well, until you ‘get it’, you gotta just re-do-it, and ‘get ready’ again. Mastery is a journey that helps you move from one little step to the next step. If you don’t reach Mastery of the step before, it’s gotta be retaught, relearned, redone. More ‘getting ready’. And then.. there will hopefully be mastery of the itty-bitty step so we can ‘get ready’ to move on to the next one….(and there’s always a next one, by the way!)
Often, readiness is dependent on what skills have been acquired, experiences had, or knowledge attained. One thing prepares us for the next. This is true in reading. It’s also true in life. I see it. I do. I mean, you don’t climb Kilimanjaro without climbing lots of other hills beforehand, then mountains, then massive mountains. Sometimes, the readiness is not about us ‘climbing Kilimanjaro’, it’s about our loved ones, our team members, reaching new heights and facing new challenges. Oftentimes, when our loved ones ‘get ready’ for a huge challenge, we’re vicariously along for the parts of the ride…so we need to get ourselves ready, too.
So, why am I talking about “getting ready”? Well, I’m aware that I’m not quite ready for a thing or two in my life. Gotta work on the ‘readiness skills’, ha. In May, my youngest son will graduate from high school. He’s watched 5 of his siblings pass this milestone and are now either finding their way toward careers of their own or are still in college (and I as a mom have watched 5 of my children pass this milestone.) So, I need to “get ready” for the whole ’empty nest’ thing. But the thing is, as a mom, well, it’s not only about this whole ’empty nest’ stage, it’s about celebrating the different ‘flights’, if you will, that my ones who have left the nest are taking. It’s both exciting and terrifying at times to watch the launching and relaunching of children from the nest. It’s full of transitions and different levels of readiness from both the launcher and the launched. And they ‘launch’ to much different places at different paces with unique skill sets and goals, and each one requires a readiness on their part, and a willingness to celebrate the launching on mine.
Case in point, I have a son who has been launching an amazing educational start up and will be moving to NYC. I’m thinking he’s the one sitting at the table on the edge of his seat ready. In fact, I know he is. He’s ready. He’s been ready a long time. Things have led him to this point and doors have opened wide to confirm it. But now that he’s in the process of getting ready logistically, with packing, housing, travel, well, I’m realizing that he’s not the only one that needs ‘readiness’ for the transition around the corner. Yes, like my enthusiastic little learners, he’s on the edge of his seat, and me? I’m trying to show outward signs of readiness, but inwardly am just not quite ready. Not unwilling. Just working toward laying down some of the fears at times.
Funny, am thinking little signs all around me are confirming to me that I need to get ready too. I mean, I don’t want to be a member of a team where everyone is ready and they’re needing to wait for the reluctant mom. No, I want to be the all-in supportive mom cheering on the sidelines. No matter how old my “children” are. So, it’s been a bit comical. Seems as though everywhere I turn, I’m being reminded of New York. And some things are helping me to move from reluctant to willing….excited even. Yesterday we were at the mall with the sole purpose of catching some good clearance sales on winter wear and the song playing in the store was “Welcome to New York”. ( “Welcome to New York” by Taylor Swift). I just looked at my son and smiled and kind of rolled my eyes. He laughed. I laughed, too.
He sees it. He sees that his journey effects more people than him. He sees that those who love him often live vicariously through his ventures. We do that with those we love. Even though he is an adult doing his own thing, there are parts of his journey that I’ll be on. Not because I haven’t let go. Nope. Not at all. He’s totally independent. But where our loved ones go, they take us with them. They take our support, or not. They take our excitement and interest and awareness of day in day out details, or not. It’s good to have a team on the sidelines cheering us on, no matter how old we are and how ‘independent’ we are.
And that’s the cool thing. He’s had folks cheering on the sidelines who have gone the rollercoaster ride of things. He’s been preparing for this (and preparing us) for a long time. He’s been in more countries than states in the U.S., and has already lived in NYC for two summers while doing an internship there. And he lived in Sweden for a year and a half after he graduated college. He and his siblings have prepared this mom for a long, long time. But I have so not reached “mastery” of the launching thing. Like my students, I’ve had lots of practicing…and am mastering the little steps, but there’s always another step, another lesson, of the heart and mind.
So here’s the thing. We never truly reach “Mastery” in life, do we? I mean, that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? I’m thankful that there’s always something more to learn, area to grow in, or mountain to climb. The cool thing is, readiness is unique to the individual. Oftentimes, one thing leads to another. We are prepared for something ahead of us by something we’ve left behind. Could be a great experience. Could be a tragedy. Could be anything in between. But our walks, our steps, can prepare us for what’s ahead. Some of us Conquer ‘Kilimanjaro’. Others, like me, might have smaller mountains to climb. But the thing is, our journeys are our own and the steps matter. Mastery of one step leads to readiness for the next step, whatever that might be. Or, we can stay stuck. I mean, that’s a choice too. If we aren’t willing to move forward, well, we just won’t be ready for what’s ahead. Yep. It’s a choice. Here’s to moving forward and taking steps. Even little ones…
So, I don’t know what you are or aren’t ‘getting ready’ for in your life. Maybe things are smooth sailing and there are no major transitions ahead. Or maybe, you’ve just come through a big transition and are having to replay some of the lessons and ‘get ready’ again because you just haven’t quite gotten it yet. Or maybe, you’ve hit a roadblock in your quest to climb and just aren’t certain which way to turn. Or maybe, like me, you’re anticipating the changes more for loved ones than for yourself. Well, the cool thing is that journeys are made one step at a time. We don’t have to be ready to climb Kilimanjaro in a day..we just have to be ready and willing to take the next step in the process, whether it be in the climbing, preparation, or supporting…we’ve all got a role…and it’s ours to choose whether or not to “get ready.”
So, when it comes time to for my youngest to walk the aisle at graduation, or my other son to fly a one way flight to New York, or all the many other changes we’ll face in the next few months, well, I’m hoping that this mom’s heart will be ready. I’m working on it. And like my students, I might need a drill or two or ten to help me to achieve ‘mastery’ of the next step, but thankfully, one step is all I need to take at a time. It’s all any of us have to take at a time. One day. One step. One minute at a time. And oh, the amazing journeys that are taken one step at a time…(Even Kilimanjaro.) Here’s to yours and mine.
p.s. All through the New Testament, Jesus spoke to those “who have ears to hear.” He knew there was a readiness of heart and mind that needed to come before there would be any ‘readiness’ for a response to Him. Today, more than anything, am praying for me, myself, and I to have ‘ears to hear’ and eyes to see where God would lead. That’s another cool theme woven through all of scripture, that He is the God who leads… In Hebrew, ‘JEHOVAH-ROHI’ means “the Lord my shepherd Who tenderly guides & provides for His own”. A Shepherd who leads. Guides. Provides. For His own…for those with a readiness to hear and heed. Yep. Am thinking where He leads is where this sheep wants to be.
Gotta share a few verses about how God lovingly leads. (Oh, and ‘lovingly’ might look different depending on whether we’re in the sheep mode or the mule mode. Mule-mode necessitates bits and bridles more than sheep mode. Just saying.)
- Psalm 143:8: “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”
- Psalm 19:8: “The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.”
- Psalm 25:9: “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.”
- Psalm 32:8-9: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.” (*Heather’s note to self: Yep, sheep, not mule. Bits and bridles are no fun.)
- Psalm 25:4-5 “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
p.p.s. Love how worlds are opened up to us through our loved ones. Here are a few shots from NYC in 2013. Looking forward to more views from wherever our journeys take us. Thankful for launched kids who s t r e t c h this mom, and b r o a d e n her view. Gonna focus on that as the changes come.