Do you work out during the off season? "Kinda, sorta..."
Did you study for the test? "Kinda, sorta..."
These are responses that I have received from my "kids" over the years (both my own children and my students). In all honesty, it's an answer I have given too, probably more than likely to my doctor or dentist in response to whether I'd regularly exercised, watched my diet, elevated and iced that sprained ankle, done regular breast exams, or flossed my teeth.
Kinda, Sorta Translated. What does that really mean? When my kids told me that, I knew they had done less than expected. Maybe they started but didn't finish. Maybe they gave it a lick and a promise. Maybe they did it once in a while. Kinda, sorta may have seemed like a better answer than "Yes I did" when you knew you didn't do what was expected; or "No I did not" which failed to reflect that you did something, even if it wasn't exactly right. We use it as a way to soften or justify the reality. When I told my doctor that, I was attempting to avoid what he/she already knew. I was more talk than action. Kinda, sorta. Not really.
Kinda, Sorta Understanding. Sometimes kinda, sorta really does express the level to which we understand or "get it." If a student kinda, sorta understands the lesson, it means they have some knowledge or skill, but not enough for clarity or to effectively apply the learning to other situations. People often stop at our house to ask for directions. I give them the directions they want, all the while knowing that I have something to connect to - a mental map if you will - and they are just listening, trying to keep it in order. I'm pretty sure when they leave, kinda, sorta is all they really understand and the result may be that they are still lost. So to answer the question, "Do you understand?" the correct response might truly be, "Not really." That is our cue to help clarify or reteach the content so that it becomes clear, and meaningful connections are made, so that the knowledge and skills can be used. Then kinda, sorta becomes "I get it" and the lost is now found!
Kinda, Sorta Efforts. Too often, kinda, sorta is more of a reflection of the time or effort we put into a task. I used to tell my basketball players that we had to "walk our talk." It didn't do us much good to talk about what we were capable of accomplishing if we didn't act in ways to prepare us for that journey. We lose focus or become complacent and then kinda, sorta stop attending to details, or making what should be a regular behavior, irregular. We stop doing our best and settling for something less. We procrastinate and make excuses. Success that ends with a quality product involves purposeful intent, hard work, and consistent effort. Kinda, sorta just isn't the same thing. Not really. Not ever.
Educators expect students to do their best on assignments or tests, and actively participate in class activities/discussions. They are typically not thrilled with kinda, sorta efforts. Not ever. Yet teachers can fall into the kinda, sorta trap too. When new instructional strategies are presented, teachers are asked if they have implemented them. When their response is "kinda, sorta," you'd be correct to assume that means they tried it once and haven't given it another thought. So when their students are not showing the intended benefits of that new strategy, one only has to look inward to realize our kinda, sorta implementation probably netted those kinda, sorta results.
Kinda, Sorta Results. The results we get from "kinda, sorta" are not really what we want and certainly not what was expected. What if your surgeon kinda, sorta took out your appendix or put in that stint? Or what if your hairdresser kinda, sorta cut your hair? Would we be happy with those results? Of course not. We want to look good, feel healthy, achieve all of our goals, and be successful! But if we are honest, most of us would admit that we would like to get the best results with the least amount of effort. If we try, isn't that better than not doing it all? Kinda, sorta. Not really.
Would you be happy with your child's teacher if they just kinda, sorta taught the lesson and then sent the child home for you to help them with their homework? Of course not! This works both ways too. It is important that parents facilitate the child's completion of the task instead of kinda, sorta doing it just to say they got it done. We have to teach our children at home and at school from an early age that kinda, sorta just isn't going to cut it in real life. Not ever.
Kinda, Sorta Lifestyle. Unfortunately, kinda, sorta can become a way of life if we're not careful. There is less pressure on ourselves if we choose to be good but not great, or act in ways to just "get by." The farther away we get from doing it right, the harder it is to get going again. I use these blogs to hold myself accountable sometimes. This one is no exception. My exercise program has been less than regular over the summer. I was busy with hosting workshops and then went on vacation. Oh yes, there's that new bad habit I have of drinking coffee first thing in the morning and playing on my phone while I watch the Today Show. That would be OK if 30 minutes didn't quickly turn into 2 hours. So my one time religious habit of 30 minutes on the treadmill every morning as soon as I got up has turned into a "sometimes" event. So when I fill out the paper work at the doctor's office and they ask me if I exercise regularly, lately I'd have to say "kinda, sorta." How's that working for me? Not good. Not really. And honestly, not ever.
Eliminating Kinda, Sorta. To get that kinda, sorta mindset out of my lifestyle, I must decide that what I want and what I'm getting just isn't in agreement and that only I can do something about that. My keys to making this change: Focus; Motivation; and Action. So this week, I have been better. Not totally focused, but moving in that direction. My once a week exercise became 4 days this week. Progress. Kinda, sorta is turning into most of the time. Will I be perfect in this endeavor? Of course not. But I'll be a lot farther away from kinda, sorta than I was a month ago if I just keep making movement a priority.
What kinda, sorta thought process or activity do you need to eliminate from your life? How's that working for you now? Get the results you want by getting focused, deciding a course of action, and making it happen. Don't let that kinda, sorta response slip back in. Not now. Not ever.