Too many irons in the fire--remove irons or build bigger fire? : LUSENET : GLASSER Choice Theory & Reality Therapy : One Thread

Excerpt from Choices Activity News, Week of November 17, 2003

Two weeks ago, I made the comment, "I had a lotta irons in the fire." I made this comment about the following Saturday, when I was to attend a district volleyball game at 10:00, take my son to an AAU game at 2:00, and, hopefully, go hunting early in the morning. If you have an understanding of Choice Theory, you realize the reason I was frustrating. In fact, the term, "lotta irons in the fire," means that one has much to do and a limited amount of time. Nothing drastic or negative, really, but frustrating just the same. Was I in need of anything? Fun? Power?  Freedom? or Love & Belonging?

To attend my daughter's volleyball game was a Quality World item in my Power (character-supportive) and Love & Belonging area. To take my son to his AAU game was, again, Power and Love & Belonging. Going hunting with my older son, Ronald, was a Power, Freedom, and Love & Belonging item. At this time, you might be questioning as to whether or not the volleyball experience and the AAU experience were not also Fun and Freedom. Neither activity is without laughing or enjoyment, but neither is high on my list of effective Fun items, as I tend to get caught up in the game and disappoint and, perhaps, upset when an unforced error occurs or a lay-up missed. As far as Freedom, one thought I had when addressing these activities, "Tomorrow I have to go. . . ." An effective Freedom activity might be characterized by a Self-talk statement like, "Tomorrow I get to. . . "

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It was obvious to me that I was frustrating due to my need for Freedom. I felt obligated to do certain activities I would rather not have to do, but I did because of my love and concern for my children.  There are times we must forego one need in order to meet another need. I might be missing fleeting special moments with my children; they will not always be playing basketball and volleyball and want me to watch. My weekends, especially Saturday, are such a valued commodity; I try to arrange situations so they'll be as need-fulfilling as possible. I suppose I can choose Power and Love & Belonging over Freedom and Fun. Hey, I can always go hunting.

HOW DID IT TURN OUT? It didn't quite go as scripted. I rose early to go hunt with my sons. We could've gone several places, a few near to home and several far away. I left it up to my older son; he chose to go far. Due to the distance, I missed Nancy's first volleyball match (loser out), at 10:00 against Zillah. I did call my cousin at the tournament site about 11:00 to see how they did. He told me that they'd dropped the first two games, won the third game, and were now leading the fourth game. He called about 15 minutes to tell me that they'd won. My response, "They won the fourth game?" His answer, "No, the match. They beat Zillah. Zillah is out!" He went on to tell me that I missed the best match of the season and how they came back and, yes, that I should of been there, etc. They were to play against Dayton at 1:30 for a trip to the state tournament. I was going to make that match. We began heading home from the mountains after the call.

Deryk made his game at 2:00. He was in fact early; I dropped him off at 1:13 and headed to Highland to make Nancy's 1:30 match. The girls won the first game against Dayton, but went on to drop the next three. They came so close to making it to the state tournament. Deryk's game was one of the best to date, they went double overtime with an Ellensburg team that beat them last year. According to Deryk, he had a good game, with several assists, 4 blocked shots, and 3 points. I missed it. I couldn't help but think that I'd blown it. I had three activities that needed tending and I did none of them well. We rushed our hunting. I missed Nancy's best match of the year, against Zillah, no less. And I kinda pushed Deryk out of the truck while passing the gym to make Nancy's match at 1:30. What the heck was Mick Jagger thinking when he sang, "T i m e. . . . is on my side, . . . . yes it is." At the time, he probably didn't have kids in sports. Hopefully, the next time I have "too many irons in the fire", I'll have sense enough to take some out.

Similar experience? What did you do the next time? TD

-- Ted Donato (, November 17, 2003

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