Sunday, October 17, 2010

I See the World from Both Sides Now...

This morning I was taking a shower.  As I looked around for soap, I reached for a favorite body wash that Erick always brings back from his many hotel travels.  It's by Bliss and up until today I was under the impression it was called "Soapy Soap."  Whenever I used it, it made me happy because I found the name funny and upbeat.  Today when I grabbed it, I noticed that it was actually called "Soapy Sap".  I was a little taken a back after seeing this.  Now understand that it was the same exact product; same smell, same color, everything that made it "it", but the fun name that I thought it had, was gone.  "Soapy Sap" reminds me more of a tree and as I looked closer, its green color and outdoor scent started to make more sense.  Having had this experience, I began to think about how perceptions shape our lives on a daily basis.

One perception a lot of people have is that Minnesota is part of the arctic tundra. While this is definitely the case some parts of the year,  lately we've actually been enjoying a beautiful fall.  The leaves have changed color and most of them have fallen off, yet the temperatures remain mild.  Last weekend the kids and I went to an apple orchard with my sister and her family.  The temps were in the 80's and we were HOT!  There are some things that are better with cooler weather and visiting the apple orchard is one of them.  I'm not going to complain.  I'd be happy if this weather was year round.

Another perception that has changed this week, is that Becca's transition to High School would be easy and stress free.  You might have read a few weeks ago, that we all went out to dinner to celebrate the school year going well.  Welcome to week 5.  It appears that the Montessori background that Becca has been raised with for the past 8 years is producing some stumbling blocks in the "traditional school" environment.  There is a bit of a "laissez faire" approach in a Montessori education in which teachers use a hands off approach and let the children develop on their own.  For the most part it produces great results where kids become free thinkers and come up with their own ideas.  What Becca is struggling with right now is balancing her own ideas with what her teachers are asking her to do.  Put simply, when the teacher tells you that these 50 items will be checked in your science notebook the following day, they are serious.  Pulling out side notes that are not in your notebook will produce a loss of points.  Not checking your math homework because you are certain you did it correctly will result in low scores on tests.  What Montessori taught Becca is invaluable; how to think outside the box.  Now we need to help Becca learn the opposite; thinking inside the box and following teacher's instructions to the letter will produce good grades.  It's tough to change the way someone views as the right way to tackle assignments (especially when that someone is very strong willed), but if we don't help Becca alter her perceptions of how to do homework, the next 4 years will be a nightmare. 

It's hard to change your perceptions.  Don't believe me?  Just ask all the Minnesota Vikings fans that are trying to come to terms that the current Vikings football team is a shell of its 2009 self.  And the return of Randy Moss is not the answer...

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