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Scaffolding for Success

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Scaffolding for Success

Delta Discovery - Serving Bethel and the Y-K Delta 

Scaffolding for Success
by Sandy Kleven 
When I go to the car, my keys are always in my hands. They dangle from a big key ring, a true ring of steel. I bought it at AC in 1984. Its diameter is about 2.5 inches. This helps me hang onto it. The ring is almost as thick as a cigarillo.
My key habit is so constant that it is no longer an intentional act. Like the smoker who is surprised to see that he’s lit a cigarette, I find myself on auto-pilot rooting around for my keys before exiting. It is as unconscious as breathing.
This is a beneficial habit. You don’t want to be digging for keys when you are out there in sub-zero temps. When you are outside with groceries and a kid balanced on a hip, you do not want to discover that you left your keys at the video counter. This great habit has saved me time and trouble.
We can intentionally set up habits that make life easier. Habits and routines create a scaffolding that you can hang other things on. When you make a move, you set up new habits and routines. My good habits include folding clothes on Sunday night; putting my work badge and keys in the same pocket of my backpack; reading the paper while riding the stationery bike on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. These small constants really pay off. Then, last week due to carelessness or rebellion, I slipped up.
I got tired of carrying my heavy backpack so I put some essentials into a much smaller purse. At work, after the trade, I was no longer carrying my work keys or my badge. I had to ask other staff members to open my office. Not a good thing.
I bought groceries at Carr’s. At the register, I had neither debit card nor checkbook. Didn’t have cash either. I called my husband. ‘Please bring your debit card,’ I begged. He was getting ready to go to our granddaughter’s play and this really threw him off kilter.
A few minutes later he called me. ‘I locked myself out of the condo!’ My turn to help him. I abandoned the groceries and rushed home.
I let him back in and then grabbed his debit card. I memorized the PIN. It’s 9999 (Just kidding!). I drove back toward Carr’s. My cell phone rang with its pretty tune, Dancing queen.  “It was my husband, ‘I’m locked out again!’” he lamented. ‘I was sure I had my keys!’
“Okay,” I tried to reassure him. “I’ll have to pick up these groceries then I’ll be back.” I rushed home and let him in again. He rushed across town for the performance. He got there before it was over but he missed Carmie’s part. That was sad.
With all this craziness, I saw the error of my ways. Now, I put everything back in their assigned places. I still carry that extra purse but now it’s inside the backpack. I can easily pull it out when I need to travel light but the backpack, with everything, stays close at hand.
The point is this - if I fold clothes every Sunday night, I will be able to dress for work without hassle. I won’t be rooting through the almost clean just to find something presentable for work. I’ll have socks and I’ll have clean undies. I’ll have fluffy towels and clean sheets. It’s good to remove these concerns from daily worries.
With my keys in my hand, whenever I go out, I will be able to get into my care and drive and I will never be locked out of my own house. If I ride the bike three times a week, automatically, I’ll live longer and look better.
These are tremendous benefits. I need more habits like this. Maybe you do, too.


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Holding Our Own 
Sandra L Kleven, LCSW
3978 Defiance Street
Anchorage, Alaska 99504
907 332 6735
907 764 - 1945