Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Many hats

Many years ago, my thesis advisor told me that to succeed, you need to do one thing and one thing only at a time. Doing one thing with 100% attention meant that you could finish that and move onto the next thing, which you in turn fixed with your full attention. This was extremely successful for her as a brilliant historian, writer and great teacher who managed a workload that the rest of us could only dream of.

My primary incarnation at the moment is as a parent. I lost the time and ability to focus on one thing and one thing only, a very long time ago. My modus operandi is “do what you can, when you can” usually while trying to do several things at once. Its sub-theme is to ignore the steadily mounting pile of laundry waiting to be folded – I see it as an experiment in physics and the law of gravity.

Right now, one of the many things needing my attention is writing grant applications for the local school. Marburg State School has a long, proud history and parents have always been involved deeply in the school. In fact, the school, originally named Frederich, was opened in 1879 at the behest and guarantee of local parents. Children (boys and girls) attended school from about age 5 to age 13. Now, everyone goes on to high school and you need to be 16 before you can leave school.

Marburg School currently only has about 40 students in two classes: prep to year three and year four to year seven. Like many schools today, a lot of extras need to be provided through external grants and by fund-raising. Last year we received a grant to build a new playground, which is due to be installed in the next few weeks. This year we are trying to get funds for a multi-purpose sports court. So for the next few days, my writing focus is on grants rather than fiction.

However, I mentioned earlier that Carl won’t be going to school after the Jaeckels get to Queensland. In fact, none of the children will formally attend school on arrival. Whatever lessons they learn will be practical and from whatever books Sophie and Michael can borrow from neighbours. All the settlers are in the same situation so they pool resources. The focus though is work and getting the family quickly established. Education has to be put aside for the time being.

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