Thursday, October 29

Note passing and other trials of youth

So I was chatting with my neighbor the other day about her son getting caught passing notes in class. And while we were talking, I mentioned that I used to be a champion note passer in class. Mostly in junior high, but some in high school as well. I'm not proud of this, mind you, but it was a moment of nostalgia that brought back memories.

I had a laugh thinking about the one time I got caught--I mean, really caught--passing notes in class. The sad part is that I wasn't even passing it yet! I was just sitting at my desk writing the darn thing.

Our junior high had this open air classroom section that looked like this:

Okay, so see where my math class was? All of those yellow hearts represent my lovely fellow classmates of 7th grade advanced math. The pink heart represents one Kay Cassidy, student of 7th grade advanced math/lover of all things note-related.

So I'm sitting there writing a note and all of the sudden, the social studies teacher comes around the end of the divider to make a joke to our math teacher and (with the stealth of a child going for the cookie jar ten minutes before dinner) snatches the note off my desk and holds it above her head like a prize.

So. Busted.

She then proceeded to read said note to the entire class. Thankfully, it was NOT about my crush du jour. Instead, and far worse in ways I didn't understand until later, it was about how horrifically boring said math teacher was. Which I felt TERRIBLE about because he was really a sweet guy. But, you know, 7th grade advanced math. Not exactly mesmerizing stuff.

As you might guess, I got teased about that for the rest of the year, mostly by my teacher (who I also realized later had an excellent sense of humor). He would stop class periodically throughout the year and ask "I'm not boring you, am I, Kay?" when I was totally paying attention, thankyouverymuch.

Fortunately, my teacher and I actually got along great so it was more like good-natured ribbing. I had him for 8th grade advanced math and then for typing in 9th grade, so he never got rid of me until high school.

By the way, there's a tidbit in my debut novel, The Cinderella Society (sorry for the plug, but it's where this comes from), that I think is fitting to mention here. In the book, the Cindys (the members of The Cinderella Society) have a great strategy to help put stressful or embarrassing situations into perspective. It's called The Rule of 5s.

Here's how it works:

Whenever something really stressful or embarrassing happens, stop and take five slow, deep breaths.

1... 2... 3... 4... 5.

(You feel better already, right?)

Then, stop and ask yourself the Five questions.

1) Will this matter in five hours?

2) Will this matter in five months?

3) Will this matter in five years?

This technique is actually based on a newspaper column from the mid-80s that my mom gave the drama queen that was teenaged me. You'd be surprised how effective it can be to put things in perspective. Even things that seem horrific and mortifying often don't pass the five-month test. And things like someone cutting you off in traffic? Those don't even pass the five-hour test.

It's all about perspective. :-)

So next time you're stressed or angry or mortified, give the Cindys' Rule of 5s a spin. I hope it works as well for you as it does for me. Let me know what you think!

~ Kay


Rhiannon Hart said...

Your maths teacher sounds so funny! My mantra for embarassing moments is "This too shall pass." I'm not sure who said it, but it's helped me through awkward moments!

Alyson Noel said...

I am thrilled to hear that kids are still passing notes! I was afraid all that texting had done away with that!

And Rhiannon, my mom practically raised me on "This too shall pass" and it really did help!

Sara Hantz said...

Yes, I thought texting had taken over from notes, too. Glad it hasn't. Note passing is such fun!

Wendy Toliver said...

Great post,Kay! My mom had similar questions she'd ask to put a certain tragedy into perspective. It is true!

Kay Cassidy said...

I love "This too shall pass"... that's such a simple but profound way to put a trying moment in perspective. Coping skills = SO helpful. :-)

Melissa Walker said...

Love the Cindys 5s, Kay! And, cute diagram. And, awesome story. Glad it all worked out for Mr. Math. Teachers with a sense of humor rule.