I am a fan of procrastination. In my opinion, anything worth doing is worth doing tomorrow.
As a result, the me of today holds a special place in his heart for the me of tomorrow because he is the person freeing up the me of today to enjoy a carefree now. Without the me of tomorrow, all deadlines and sundry responsibilities would need to be met by the me of today, which would place the me of today in an extremely unhappy now.
Of course, being the parent of a teenage daughter and two soon-to-be tween sons, I often find myself in the ethically shaky position of teaching a "do as I say, not as I do" lesson, as was the case yesterday with the topic of procrastination. Instead of preaching from the heart of my lifelong love of the gospel of delay, I had to pretend to understand and fully appreciate the value of preparedness and advanced planning.
Yesterday, when Our Daughter bemoaned the ridiculously voluminous quantity of homework due Friday, I did my best to be a cheerleader for a mantra in which I've never made any personal investment. I told her:
"Imagine how much the you of tomorrow will like the you of today if the you of today completes as much of the work that's due Friday as possible. If the you of today knuckles down and completes most of the work now, the you of tomorrow will probably be head over heels in love with the you of today."
She thought about this for a few seconds before responding.
"But the me of today won't like the me of tomorrow," she said.
"True," I agreed. "The you of today will resent and despise the you of tomorrow for being a lazy, spoiled, ungrateful layabout. But, just remember that the you of today will no longer exist. No one will care a lick that the you of today was ever upset with the you of tomorrow, least of all the you of tomorrow, because the you of today will have become the you of yesterday."
Sometimes children do listen, and Our Daughter ultimately completed the lion's share of the work in the hours following my motivational intervention. The effect of her hard work was immediately evident on her smiling face this morning when she came out to the kitchen for breakfast.
"So," I said. "Does the you of today love the you of yesterday for getting all that work done?"
"Yes," she admitted. "But the me of yesterday still hates the me of today."
In the end, I think I did a more successful job of convincing myself of the deficiencies of procrastination in terminology I could understand. I'll have to give the whole concept of working ahead and planning for the future some serious thought.
© 2011 Mark Feggeler