In early 2009, an airplane landed in the Hudson River after multiple bird strikes caused engine failure. The pilot who successfully performed the emergency landing later wrote a book, called Highest Duty, detailing his experiences on that flight.
One of the ideas from the book that stuck with me is the concept of “goal sacrificing.” Capt. Sullenberger mentions that when he writes about his responsibility of not only safely transporting the passengers and crew but also safely transporting the plane. When faced with making an emergency landing in a river, Sullenberger realized that he would be forced to apply some goal sacrificing in his role as pilot.
So, in order to save lives, he sacrificed the plane itself. Lives were spared; the plane was not. He set his priorities, and he focused on those. He majored in the majors.
In about 2 weeks, I will begin my sixth year of home schooling. I’ve been planning for our new year–planning for 2nd grade lessons, for 5th grade lessons, and for activities that all 3 of us will do together.
I enjoy planning only a little. I prefer the doing: the execution over the preparation. And I don’t mind figuring some things out as we go; I like to leave room for spontaneity. But I also need to give myself the gift of some sturdy tracks to run on. So I’m doing the planning.
In light of all the work I have ahead of me, I’ve given myself permission to do some goal sacrificing of my own. In the span of the next couple of weeks, school prep is paramount. Other tasks must wait. I will make sure we have clean clothes to wear, food to eat, and clean dishes on which to eat the food. But this is not the time to put “organize closets” or “clean out the fridge” or “start new workout calendar” on my to-do list. That would be a serious failure when it comes to majoring in the majors.
There will be time for all that other work later. Because I’m setting my priorities and focusing on those.
For more encouragement for the new home school year, check out this blog post about how our plans are just good guesses. And this post, about how we can still move forward in a new year with hope even when our inspiration and enthusiasm are lacking.