Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Humanizing Retirement

     When I was in grad school I had a class titled "Humanizing the Classroom".  I proposed that a student's perception that time was passing rapidly was a highly correlated with the intensity of their engagement and could be a predictor of the quality of their learning.  Being mesmerized wasn't sufficient to predict coursework quality, but combining worthwhile studies and intensity of attention made meaningful courses.

   Years later when I helped start a childcare center, we had so little funding that we couldn't afford to buy a clock for the preschool classroom.  In consequence, I was often surprised by the cook alerting us that she was ready to serve lunch; we had to rush and clear the tables.  I realized that not having a clock in the classroom was a boon to the work of the day.  Lost in the moment, children and teachers pursued their ideas and play with pleasure as they worked and reworked their ideas.  What makes a good classroom isn't always obvious.  No clock?  When children are focused, discipline problems often disappear.  Classrooms become more civilized and humane.  Teachers aren't expressing dismay at children's behavior and focusing their time on correction rather than encouragement.    

     Now being retired, I have been thinking about time again.  Humanizing Retirement time, as it were.  I wake up with an expanse of time ahead.  Most days have some activity that promises swiftly passing time.  As I get older, I suppose I should be thinking about trying to make that clock hand lollygag, but here I am hoping for it to scurry about the dial whistling.  The pleasure of being intensely occupied, that I had when I was working, is the quality that I am unwilling to give up.   Today I am off to painting, yesterday it was attending the cancer support group, tomorrow I will be attending a talk on war casualties and Friday a Baha'i Feast.  I love the balance of swift time and slow time.  A humanely balanced retirement.

     Even pup likes my Humanized Retirement.  We spend more intense time together out walking. When I am home she can enjoy swiftly passing time sitting on the table next to the cat food bowls (which she has just licked clean, a daily dog service) and watch for birds and squirrels.  Ah, retirement time.



  1. This is a deep topic and one that could be explored in a lot of places. Assisted living doesn't feel very humanizing~ at least to me.

  2. I appreciate this comment. Wish there were more raised garden beds, child care centers in assisted living facilities and opportunities for rich mental and physical engagement of all sorts. Would be nice to see Quest classes on site.


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