Slug: the-system Date: 2011-01-12 Title: The System layout: post

Some mornings I wake up dreading the moment my son will get up. He wakes up hard and fast, and it totally breaks The System. This is not my son’s fault — he’s a 7yo boy. But it is making me looks to update The System.

I became a “morning” person because I hate mornings. I don’t like having to wake up with people around, in my face, expecting things. So I worked out The System. The System goes like this: I set my alarm to wake me an hour before whoever in the family typically wakes up next. I like it dark. I get up, make coffee, read my Bible, pray, read some news and email. By this point my brain is working, I’ve decided how I feel about the day, and I can generally be calm, kind, understanding, etc.

In one college course we all had to be up at 6:30am for breakfast, and to class at 7:30am, but we were all working until 2 and 3 in the morning. I came to breakfast so I could get coffee, but I was (not so) affectionately known as “the dark presence”. People laughed, but it was “haha only serious”, and I was generally left alone until after the first session. No one likes “the dark presence”.

Breaking the System seems to break my ability to operate with any degree of social skill, and my son breaks The System. Seriously. He wakes up around the same time I do, long before my wife or the other kids, he’s bounding with energy, and has to have my attention. He isn’t able to quietly entertain himself, he needs interaction from the get go. My natural response is GO. AWAY. This only makes him sore at me and can derail his whole day, which makes it a lose-lose.

So I’m working on some tweaks to The System. One is to get up even earlier, but it’s hard to do that and still be able to stay up with the wife in the evenings. Another is to plan ahead: make sure the coffee is going to be ready without having to make it. Make a list of things for him to do to start his day. Think about how those first couple of conversations might go so I’m ready. You laugh! – but I’m a nerd and don’t handle change/conflict well without some preparation.

I think I can make this work, but I’m learning that The System needs some adaptive execution paths in order to continue working.