It’s the things and events we focus on make up the world we perceive and think we live in. This means, each of us literally chooses to which she or he gives her or his attention, what sort of a classroom appears to her or him. That is, what we attend to is our reality. So, the roles perceptions, presumptions, assumptions, and attentions play are crucial in determining the type of academic world we experience.
I came across this poem. It ties in with an exercise I run in my workshops on creating a motivating classroom that I call “The Parable of the Dandelion.” This poem is titled “Dandelions and Mud Puddles.”
We can see dandelions as a weed that invades the pristine beauty of our gardens. Or, we can see it as a beautiful flower or a fluffy white ball to wish upon or as a source of nourishing food and drink.
We can see a mud puddle and see only dirty shoes, soiled clothes, and stained carpets. Or, we can see it as a pool to stomp in, splash around in, and have fun.
We can feel a wind and worry about how it will muss our hair or toss leaves on our manicured lawns. Or, we can close our eyes, let it massage our face, and imagine we’re soaring on an updraft like an eagle.
We can see a rain storm and see only that we will be drenched, depressed by the grayness, and that the warm rays of the sun will disappear. Or, we can sing and play in the rain as if it was a water fountain, realize the raindrops are nourishing our gardens, and think warmly of the sun that still shines above the gray clouds.
Now, just replace “dandelion” and “mud puddle” with “student.”
We should discipline our own emotions and give them the light and warmth of love, hope, and good cheer. Our conscious efforts to be positive, enthusiastic and supportive can have a huge impact not only on the emotional well-being on each student, but on his or her ability to experience the joys and pains of learning in healthy and constructive ways. Dreamy? Touchy feely? Well, being a cancer survivor of four years and having “miraculously” survived a massive cerebral hemorrhage last year, I know that happy is better than sad, enthusiastic is better than resigned, blooming is better than wilting, warmth is better than chill, calm is better than irritation. The truth is that we are as what makes us happy or what makes us sad and angry; we are as we see “this is the best day of my life” or “this is the worst day of my life.”
Seeing the good side or being able to discover and savor things to be grateful for, doesn’t reduce or erase the inconveniences or discomforts or headaches or disappointments. But, it can change dramatically how we choose to deal with them and what impact they will have on our ability to persist, persevere, and feel accomplished, satisfied, fulfilled, and happy.