The book, Blood and Thunder: An Epic of the American West by Hampton Sides, describes Kit Carson as a man of action.
“To an unusual extent, Kit Carson was a person who lived not in words but in action, responding to situations with a preternatural swiftness. Nearly everyone who knew him mentioned this quality,” Sides writes.
Sides continues that a physician who knew Carson commented on Carson’s “shrewdness of perception” and “promptitude in execution.” Apparently, Carson’s favorite phrase was “done so.” Stanley Vestal, one of Carson’s early biographers “observed that Carson constantly used the construction “Concluded to charge them, done so,” noting that he often rendered it in a single sentence, ‘To Kit,’ Vestal said, ‘decision and action were but two steps in the same process,’” Sides writes.
I respect Carson’s take on action. Though I enjoy a lazy afternoon as much as anyone (and I love sleeping late), when it comes time to get something done, I would rather just get it done as opposed to waiting for a better time or until everything is in exactly the right way or whatever the reason is for delaying action.
My perspective on getting stuff done is in direct and obvious contrast to my husband’s. Nonetheless, we’ve found our kabuki dance around our differences and have come upon a way that makes our relationship work. He is the yin to my yang, so to speak. After nearly 20 years of marriage, for the most part our different natures have grown to complement each other as opposed to aggravate. We make it work, and for that I am grateful.
However, for all the years it took my husband and me to adjust to our contradictory paces of life, I have yet to find a resolution to the snail-like approach and reflexes my 16-year-old daughter uses to meet each day.
She is the anti-Kit Carson.
To an unusual extent, she is a person who lives life in words not action, responding to situations with preternatural sluggishness.
It makes me crazy. As she approaches adulthood, we have yet to come upon the yin and yang of our relationship. She is a good girl, a smart girl. She has a kind and generous heart, but her tendency to stall and procrastinate is pushing me over the edge.
Lately, I’ve tried differing tactics to instill some sort of sense of urgency within her, but speed and urgency go against who she is to such a degree that, at times, doing the task myself would be easier.
But that’s not going to happen. After months (who am I kidding?)…after years, of trial and error, I have found her Achilles heel. It is her telephone. These days when I ask her to do something and she responds with her go-to reply, “I will. Just a minute.”
I say, “Do it now or I take your phone.”
I feel a degree of remorse that sometimes things might be more convenient to do if she waits a bit, but I have learned that, “Now is a great time.” I’ve also learned the hard way the betterment of having the task completed on the spot. Otherwise, it generally doesn’t happen.
Granted, part of her listlessness may be a function of being 16, but a function of being a 16-old’s mother is to guide her toward a better life. And in our case, that responsibility seems to require that I figure out what can light the fire beneath her so she gets the stuff done than has to get done.
Kit Carson, smile upon us.