Agony for the Ecstasy

Sometimes you have to do uncomfortable things for a long time before you see a good result. Runners call this the agony for the ecstasy. Some terrible things happen with helpful consequences. For example: When I learned my blood sugar was riding high normal, I forced myself to drink water instead of soda. Some of you who have done this will know it is not an easy interchange. After a while though your body begins to reward you for drinking water. You start to get an idea of what soda may be doing to your whole body. I’m thankful I got it. I may become diabetic one day but until then, I can make healthy changes and fight that consequence.

Sadly, not many people give up even little things like soda until they’re ordered to by the doctor.

I have the utmost respect and honor for those out there living successfully with diabetes. They should fill us all with courage and motivation.

We’re about to sit down to watch “The Walking Dead.” In the show, and many people know it so I almost hesitate to give a synopsis but …, ex-sheriff Rick Grimes and his band of surviving misfits are walking around in a post-apocalypse wasteland. There is a virus that makes people turn into zombies. These people on “The Walking Dead” have to make do with what they have, hunt when they need to and get resourceful when they need water.

In my life sometimes I feel like I am in a cosmic push/pull between desire and health.

All people struggle with this I’m sure. I’ve ruled out trying to explain this to children. My 10 year olds every year seem to prefer eating taquis and Hot Cheetos to fruit and vegees. My own kids at home are the same way. But when you are living in a desperate situation like after the doctor’s orders or take for instance in the land of the Walking Dead, you go without if you have to. You eat what’s there. Isn’t is a tragedy people require this sort of motivation.

I’m a teacher and we as a rule deal in choice and discomfort. We hope kids will choose the right and if not, there are uncomfortable consequences. We try to emulate life for them because, and most all adults know, this is the way of life. It’s getting closer and closer to test time. My students have grown this year but they aren’t ready yet. My personal goal is that each child shows one year of growth on the standardized test. If you don’t know about Common Core, it’s a high level test that really challenges the kids.

This assessment we take is a very high stakes test as the results are posted in the newspaper.

It potentially affects the way we as teachers are treated. The next couple months before Spring Break are going to require me to make choices I need over what I want. I’m going to have to coach my students to do that as well. It helps to write it out because I know there will be valleys. In those times, I’ll coach my kids to keep their focus on the mountaintop as we keep marching on. They’ll think I’m hassling them but when they get to adulthood or maybe even when that test score chart comes in the mail, they’ll know, hopefully, why that thing that seemed like hassling was really the best coaching for life a person can get.

Author: Damien Riley

I'm a blogger, film critic, & podcaster with an MA in English from California State University, Fullerton. I teach public school, 4th grade as my primary occupation. My views on films and life are usually headstrong and often 'left of center' on movies and life, but I have respect for the other side. I married my high-desert princess (now my queen). We have 3 children.