Time-Change and the Power of Perspective

trees

Why is the Spring Forward time-change so hard? It was like waking the dead this morning. And it’s only an hour difference.

I think perspective could go a long way to help my sleepy-heads (and me!)

Really. Because truth be told, if we lost an hour and due to a nice trip to the mountains – we wouldn’t feel it much. It would be the best lost-hour ever – a vehicle sending us to slush down the snowy slopes instead of a tool of torture dragging us in a catatonic state to the car; gleeful giggling instead of moaning, struggling, complaining: “The sun isn’t even up!!” (The sun had risen – but clearly not when they woke up.)

Enter Stage Left: Sunshine Mom

“Quit complaining. Look a the bright side! And rather than let the lost hour put you in a sleep-deprived funk, force your thoughts to see the good. [sidenote: I’m not quite sure what the good is in the case of springing forward, but there’s got to be one, or two, or one.] Why waste the precious time you have – lose another hour – by letting it steal your joy from this moment.”

Birds were singing and playfully circling around our car as if a Disney Princess was on board. Actually, it looked more like a load of eye rolls. I don’t blame them, but I try. And I mean it – perspective can help with so many things.

  • Rather than focus on gathering friends, be a friend.
  • Instead of seeing a mountain as an obstacle, consider the opportunity.
  • If school/a subject/a sport is super hard at the moment, see it as growth rather than an indictment.

As folders were gathered this morning and dust shaken from backpacks after a week break, I remembered such a redirect to one of the kids who has been put off, not sure how to handle, some homework corrections in need of attention.

“Sweetheart – what’s up with the stack of un-corrected corrections?” I had to ask. But I didn’t want to ask. The avoidance is looking more purposeful than regular forgetfulness.

“I hate school,” he replied.

Okay – he really doesn’t hate school. He actually enjoys it and loves learning. Not all of our kids love to learn, but this one is a curious soul – intrigued the way things work, interested in history, almost always asking questions that dive deeper than surface. On top of all that he ADORES his teacher – wonderful is an understatement.

“Honey – hate it strong word – and I’m pretty sure you don’t.”

“I do,” he insisted.

Clearly stuck in traffic on that road, I look for a way to inch forward on another. “What’s up with your homework? It’s like you’d rather not do it than make a mistake.”

Silence.

“Are you afraid of messing up?”

Silence. Big eyes begin to moisten and fill with tears.

I love that boy’s eyes. They tell it all: he is afraid. Which likely has lots more attached to it than simply answering a homework question wrong.

It can be a challenge living in a world obsessed with perfection.

Even if we don’t realize it we swim in perfection waters every day. Photoshop’d pics, heralded successes, excessive trophying – they all add to perfection pressures that can make learning a challenge. Mostly because learning, of all things, is an road inevitably and wonderfully paved by mistakes.

So how can we promote learning in an environment obsessed with perfection? I’m not sure, but on thing we’ve discovered along our way OFF the perfection road is to talk it out.

“Honey – learning is filled with lots of missed questions. In fact it’s hard to learn without messing up.

Teachers know that mistakes come with their territory. They even welcome them. Mistakes help your teacher know what you have and haven’t understood. They help her to be a better teacher and you to be a better student. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes.”

It’s true. I think we forget the roads of major success stories that are literally peppered with mistakes and failures.

He’s listening, so I keep going, “The fact your teacher wants you to correct your work is only because she cares about you. She wants you to learn. She doesn’t want you to look the other way, pretend you know something when you don’t (no one knows everything, no one!) or worst of all – quit. The truth is – it would be a lot easier for her to mark it wrong and move on. But she cares for you more than that.”

Then I come to the end of my little life lecture, hoping that I hear what I’m telling him since I’m faced with challenges/making mistakes every day, “Please see those corrections for what they are – a statement that your teacher is for you and wants you to be all that you can be. See those corrections like a little note of encouragement – not a sign of disappointment or statement that you less-than others. No – they’re a sign that you’re worth the effort.”

Perspective. It almost instantly helped him. Sometimes a little dose of reality (a view of the way things are rather than the way we perceive them to be) can go a long way.

How can it inform your day today?

Thanks for walking the road with me.

-Kay

If you’re in Dallas and want some fuel in your don’t-fear-failure tank, come hear Jess Lahey this Wednesday. Here are the deets:

  • Speaker: Jessica Lahey, NYT Best Selling Author of The Gift of Failure
  • When: 3/16/2016, 7:00 PM 8:00 PM
  • Where: Highland Park Methodist Church – Wesley Hall
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