Or, in simpler terms: everything is relative, at the very least tangetically related.
So. I think I have figured out what my problem is (well at least one of them); I have never really understood economics. None of it. Clearly this is the key to most, if not all of my problems.
And yes, I am even going to blame my lack of blogging on it because in essence it boils down to a supply and demand issue. In this particular economic scenario time is the commodity. Demand for it is high and supply is low. The resource is low. There is a scarcity. Choices have to be made people!
But I think "choice" is a bad word because really, most times I don't actually get to "choose". The choice is already made for me. And ultimately this is my problem with economics. I have a problem with the whole "want" versus "need" aspect of the "choice" theory. For example; I want to spend my time running, writing and shopping. But my resources--my uncooperative IT band, lack of time, lack of money--cannot meet my demands or, really let's just be honest--ever satisfy my "wants". So, this use of the word "choice" in economics really doesn't apply to me. I don't have a choice. Oh my God!<
My lack of grasping the economic obvious really wasn't too big of a problem until yesterday. Or rather I should say it wasn't a problem I really paid much attention to if I could get away with it. Denial is not just a river in Africa when it comes to me and economics. However, yesterday I was forced to think about it because my third grader had to study for an "Econ" test.
In third grade.
I don't think the word economics was even in my vocabulary until middle school and in that case it was proceeded by the word "home" and was a super fun class where we got to sit at big round tables and make cookies and sew aprons. Imagine my dismay freshman year of high school in Economics when Coach Manus screamed at the class as he ground the chalk into the board writing "THERE ARE NO FREE LUNCHES!!"
(seriously, can't there sometimes be free lunches? )
That was a really, really sad day for me. Then he handed out copies of the Wall Street Journal stock listings and told us to pick a stock to invest in for our first assignment. I've been traumatized about money realities ever since. I remember thinking: This is economics? Where are my cookies? My appliques to sew on my apron?
Taking my required economics 101 class in college was no better and is probably the exact reason why I never wanted to be a business major or even take another business class. I have taken a lot of courses ( I graduated from undergrad with 90 extra hours because I changed my major 3 times) but economics across the board was the only class/subject that I really really hated. Everything else--Statistics and Organic Chemistry included--I could find something interesting, something that I liked.
So yesterday when I came across a white typed flyer that said Econ Lessons at the top of the page in bold print I immediately felt that same confusion and stress I felt in freshman economics. There were these bolded titles:
Lesson 1: Scarcity (no coincidence that the word "scar" is in there)
Lesson 2: Opportunity Cost (doesn't that just sound ominous?)
Lesson 3: Consumption
Lesson 4: Production
Lesson 5: Interdependence (this doesn't sound so fun either)
All with neat bullet point definitions below them. At first I thought maybe it was a political flyer from the mail that had gotten mixed up with the kids school papers. I turned it over expecting to see a political agenda but it was blank.
"I need to study that Mom," Carmella said as she snatched the paper out of my hand. "I have an Econ test tomorrow," she explained.
I have to admit. A little bit of me died then. For the first time since my kids have been in school I was scared (see, there's that word again) of their homework. I feel pretty confident I can explain most subjects to my kids but economics is the one class I always hated with a passion. It was like every time the instructor talked I heard Charlie Brown's teacher and when I tried to read the textbook I suddenly had dyslexia.
Truthfully though, it is not just economics homework. I really don't like any homework--never really was my thing. I made it my mission when I was in school to do all my homework at school (with the exception of reading or writing research papers. And that was because I didn't view that as work. I liked reading. I liked research. I liked writing-- of course the caveat being: so long it was a subject I actually liked.) If that meant skipping lunch or getting to school an hour early that is what I did. If I couldn't get it done on school property during school time? Yeah, it pretty much didn't get done then.
That said I am stickler about my kids doing their homework and I even help them with it every afternoon and make sure all their assignments are done. I even encourage them to turn stuff in early.
Lucky for me my third grader likes homework and does not make too many "help me with my homework" demands. This is particularly extra lucky for me this year since my first grader's homework is using up most of the available resources (my time).
I knew there were going to be issues with the resources (my time) this year having both a first grader and third grader. I have long heard people saying "third grade is tough." And after my experience with Carmella in first grade I knew it was going to be really hard for Beau this year and his homework would take up a huge chunk of time everyday. So I hoped third grade wouldn't prove too hard for Carmella since there is only so much time (and so much of my patience) in any given afternoon. And so far Carmella has managed all her home work fine. Meaning I have not had to do any of her homework. Maybe once or twice a week I have to answer a question or quiz her on something but otherwise she is on top of it.
First grade homework though. It is killing me! More so than my inflamed It Band is aggravating my left leg and messing up my training. And that, my friends, is a lot.
I found out when Carmella was in first grade just how much first grade had changed but now, if it is even possible, I think it has gotten even harder. Either that or I am just not remembering 2 years ago correctly. Maybe I got too complacent in second grade when the demand (for my time) was low and the supply (my time) was high. Or, even more likely, I am dumber.
My brain cells were compromised the day I found out I was pregnant and have been shrinking exponentially ever since. I thought by giving birth it would have stopped the shrinkage and early on had hopes of gaining some of what I lost back--you know like how your hair fell out and it eventually grew back or your stomach shrunk back--but no such luck for me. My brain is damaged beyond repair.
And just to give you a taste of what I am talking about here is a sampling of stuff my first grader-- wait let me be more specific-- my first grader who HATES to do homework because he HATES to write is assigned: Research Benjamin Franklin. Create a fact book about him." Or, "Write a math subtraction story about fruit. Include three things: a colored illustration, a written story, and a math equation to show the solution." Those are some of the more challenging (time consuming) assignments we have yet to tackle (we get to pick and have to do one every night for the quarter). The easier ones we have accomplished were: making a list of 10 contractions and writing the words that make up each contraction and making 10 addition sentences and writing the inverse subtraction sentence. We also made a "comic book with two characters, one who eats healthy and one who doesn't." We even did a science assignment showing the "water cycle" and listed the different forms of precipitation and drew a picture to go along with it. Seriously, my son with a speech problem can barely say the word "precipitation" never mind write it out. I motivated him to do that assignment by helping him create a word document on the computer. Typing, Googling, and my personal favorite "cut and paste" skills added to the lesson. Thinking this is how we will get that Ben Franklin book done too.
I had to shuffle Beau's homework aside yesterday and gave him a math sheet I printed out. He will do addition and subtraction all day long so long as I do not make him write any pesky words. I sat down with Carmella to go over her "Econ" homework.
Clearly, lack of understanding economics is genetic. Finally! Something Carmella and are have in common. No. I am seriously not happy about this but I did find it funny when I asked her to define "scarcity". The handout says "scarcity happens when there's not enough of something you want." And she just could not wrap her mind around that. No matter how many examples I offered. When I tried to discuss "economic problem" with her--which according to her handout is defined as people having to make choices because of scarcity well, let's just say it was challenge and severely muddied the waters. Like I said, I too have a lot of troubles with those so called "choices".
Her little friend Reina was here playing so I sent them out to play teacher and study the sheet. I told Carmella that I would quiz her when she got home from ballet. But either she was too tired from ballet or there is just a huge mental block in our genetic makeup against economics because she had no clue. I sent her to bed--very stressed out about her test I should add-- and told her I would get her up early to so she could get to school and have extra time to study.
Carmella was ready this morning to leave for school at 6:50 am. As we packed her assignments up and I signed important forms I happened to glance at her agenda. It said "Econ test Friday."
"Carmella," I said. "Your Econ test is when?"
"Today, " she groaned and also looked answered looking at her agenda.
"Really? You wrote that it is on Friday."
"Yeah. Friday" She answered gloomily.
" And today is . . " I ask her.
Her eyes get huge and excited, " Thursday!"
Thank goodness the child has another day to study! Maybe since it is third grade economics this time I-- I mean Carmella-- will finally get it.
So here is what I am thinking. Maybe if I can figure out economics I will in turn be able to figure out how much of a demand I can put on my It Band and still be able to run Mystery Mountain Marathon next Sunday without injury (or pain). I am sure there is some fine economic equation of rest, running, tapering, rehab-ing, stretching and foam rolling and if I can just figure it out then I will be able to satisfy my needs and my wants. I do think, possibly, like how I have a tendency to read too much into a metaphor, I might be reading a little too much into economic theory. Really, it doesn't matter the system, the theory or the law; in the taper the coordinate is always defined by madness.