Deadlines and Disappointment

When my editor asked "Are you a person who likes deadlines?" I thought, "What an odd question. How can life get done without deadlines? How does anything get accomplished without knowing exactly what is expected, when it is due, and who will be disappointed if it doesn't get done?"

A young office worker checks her watch, circa 1945. (Photo by FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

"Interesting association" I suddenly thought, "expectations, deadlines and disappointment. Hmmmm.." What would happen if life had no deadlines?

Last August, when I heard that my kindergarten daughter was expected to do 30 minutes of homework- with a daily deadline of the next morning, I was outraged. She was just freshly five years old, and that is too young to start the drudge of deadlines. with expectations of happy or sad faces on her papers, depending upon who liked or was disappointed by her work. I reconsidered Montessori, where kids define their own deadlines, but my daughter said she would miss her friends too much if she changed schools.
A few months later, still steaming about the nightly work expectations, I asked Ana, "What is your favorite part of school?" She quickly replied, "Homework." 
"What???!!!!", I completely stifled, as I quietly said, "Oh, that's nice, Honey."
Unlike me, Ana does not associate homework with expectations, deadlines, or disappointment. Perhaps she just likes to do more of what she likes to do. On her last day of kindergarten, she told me she would miss homework and asked if I would make her some for the summer. I asked her what kind of homework she would like, to which she replied, "Math, because I like math. Spelling, Reading, and Drawing - oh, and Singing."
Wow. A whole new world emerged before my eyes. What if there were only "alivelines"? What if we offered our creations to another or others when we were ready, got to do more of what we love to do, and the only result was more aliveness for everyone - no lines, nothing dead, and no one disappointed?
I think it's time for me to do my human homework and create this world. How about you?

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