It takes a series of steps to get from point A to point B. That is also one of the hardest things for people to remember – that this is a process. We do not immediately go from thought to finished product without some work in between those two; or quite frankly, quite a bit of work.
Still, one of the questions I get far too often is, “Do we have to follow all of the steps in order?”
“Yes, that is why I wrote them in that order. And no skipping steps either.”
“You mean I have to do all of this? Why can’t I just…”
“Negative. Do all of the steps in order. No other way around it. Put in the work.”
In my classroom, I share my journey in CrossFit with my students, especially since it is so relevant to this particular question. I explain to them that when I signed up for CrossFit, I did not walk in and immediately start lifting heavy weights. I had to put in the work. I had to do all of the things to build strength – some of which I DID NOT enjoy – so that I could do what I do today. I have to continue to work to continue to improve, and keep doing the things that are my least favorite. And this means doing all of the steps in order.
Students have to learn to be patient with the groundwork of learning. Sure, they may not think that doing things such as writing in journals or following sentence patterns is a relevant part of the process. They may not like critical reading and annotation. There are days that they don’t like following directions. But they have to put in the work, even the parts they deem yucky, to be able to produce a meaningful finished product that draws all of those skills together, and one in which they have invested the necessary time and thought to complete.
It is the same with any kind of learning or project or process in the adult world. There has to be groundwork. There are steps that must be followed in order so that the project can be completed. Some of the steps will not seem very relevant, and some will not be in the least bit enjoyable, but they are ALL a part of the process. Putting in the work is essential, but it must be the kind of work that produces not just any product, but a quality product.
This process is a journey – one which requires time, energy, work, and personal investment. Enjoy it, learn from it, and be sure to stop and look at how far you have come.
It will be well worth it.