Added stress teaches responsibility

By Helena Rodriguez: CNJ Local Columnist

Too blessed to be stressed. That’s a saying I’ve been seeing a lot lately.
But I like it better the other way around: “Blessed to be stressed.”

Why? Because as I heard a radio commentator say we’re blessed to be stressed because that means God has entrusted us with a lot of responsibilities, and he’s done so because he knows we can handle it.

For students, think about that as a new school year begins, and for working adults, keep that in mind as you go about your work week.
Stress in itself is not a bad thing, it is how you cope with stress, how you learn from stress and how you become blessed from the stress.

So students, the teacher who piles on the homework is not really being cruel, but is trusting that you can handle the responsibility and will grow in wisdom from it. And I’m not just saying that. In a few weeks, I’ll have to tell myself that when I start back to college for the fall semester at Eastern New Mexico University.

As I’m writing those research papers and studying for my comprehensive exams, I’ll tell myself, “I’m blessed to be stressed.”

From what I’ve been hearing from my daughter Laura, a junior at Portales High School, it’s not business as usual in Ram County and PHS Principal Melvin Nusser has confirmed this for me. This may also be the case at other schools. Students are feeling a little bit of extra stress to get to class on time, something they should be doing anyway, and to get their homework done and turned in on time.

The school has tightened up in other ways as well with the overall goal of eliminating classroom distractions so more learning can take place and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) scores will go up.

As adults, we can sometimes set the worse example for our children when it comes to handling stress. I’m a prime example. I use to crack when the littlest of things would go wrong or get out of schedule. Finally one day, and it wasn’t too long ago, I told myself, “How do I expect God to help me accomplish certain goals and reach certain milestones in my life when I can’t even handle the little things?”

Now I try and tell myself, “I’m blessed to be stressed.”

It’s these little things — like getting to school on time and getting your homework done and turned in on time — which turn into bigger things in the real world.

According to Nusser, tardiness and absenteeism are societal problems. You can turn that around though and say that perhaps it is these societal problems, started by adults, which have carried over to our children, and as we’ve seen, can hamper their education if they are not fixed.

“I’ve talked to employers around town and it was voiced by several business people that a big problem is people not showing up to work on time or not showing up to work at all,” Nusser said. “I was also appalled to sit in the back of church and after the preacher started preaching, to see how many people showed up late. So this is not just a problem kids have, it is a societal problem.”

Nusser said he expects to see positive results as a result of the tightening up at PHS — and he expects this to be reflecting in next year’s AYP scores.

“I think that everyone will perform to the level of expectation that we have for them,” Nusser said. “We like to have fun, but we also expect a lot from our kids: Being on time, being in class, doing what they are supposed to be doing and respecting adults. These are important aspects of being responsible individuals in society.”

In my opinion, our students are really not being held to higher standards, but rather, to the minimum that should be expected. And in the end, our children will only be blessed by any added stress. Perhaps it is us adults that should hold ourselves to higher standards so that our children will accept these as minimum standards when it comes to what others expect from them and what they should expect from themselves.

Helena Rodriguez is a staff writer for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. Her e-mail address: