A gentle reminder ...

The goal of this blog initially was for Mr. Mc to show his students and friends what he doing while in Pennsylvania and DC in 2011. Now it's being used as a place for him, travelling colleagues and former students to discuss edumacation and history related "stuff" as well as ... well, anything which pops into his head. Mr. Mc would never knowingly embarrass either the school he loves or the family he is devoted to. By joining in the discussion, he expects the same of you.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

5 to 50: What do a light bulb, a fifteen year old and Easter lillies have in common?

This is one of my favorite photographs from National Geographic photographer Dewitt Jones
Today's thought comes from the mind of my newly minted 15-year old, Max. Today is his birthday and we were chatting after church about the blog and he suggested this life lesson:

There is always a solution...

This wasn't the one I had been thinking about, but it is the one I can't stop thinking about.

The first reason involves wrong answers. Students know that I love the National Treasure series. One of my favorite quotes is discussed in this post from the beginning of this blog experiment. Here is another:

What? You don't speak Italian? Well, okay. As they look for ways to get their hands on the Declaration of Independence, Riley Poole tells Ben Gates what the challenges are and suggests it might be impossible. Gates tells Poole of the story of Thomas Edison and his two thousand attempts to figure out how to make the carbonized cotton filament in the incandescent light bulb work. Edison challenged a detractor that he hadn't failed, but that he came up "2000 ways not to make a light bulb." All he needed was one way to work. And he did. (So did the folks in National Treasure, but that was a movie, not real life--in case you weren't sure.)

Sometimes I give up too easy. Sometimes I let my kids and students as well. In one of my student's speeches this year, he said that 'our parents and teachers love us and don't want us to see us hurt'. As a result, we swoop in and give them the answer, a solution, a way out. Unfortunately, what we don't do if force them to come up with the solution on their own. I need to be better at letting my charges marinate in a situation --give them encouragement and time to get there on their own.

The second reason I can't get this idea out of my mind revolves around settling for good enough. I remembered a video I had seen from a decade ago about 'right' answers. I remembered the speaker was a National Geographic photographer and the Interwebs did the rest. This isn't the series I remember, but its the same basic talk with the exact pictures so, watch and think on, then come back...

...welcome back.
I love the idea of different right answers. As a history teacher, it would be easy for me to devise a test where everything is concrete. One answer to fit the question. Unfortunately, real life doesn't come with questions that usually have one answer. There is a great line from The American President where he challenges the idea what looking 'presidential' means. He says that there are very few days as the president where the answer is completely black and white and those days usually involve body bags.
Life is a series of gray answers. That isn't good or bad; it just is. One of my goals as a teacher is to prepare my students for that reality. Actually, my goal is to get them to embrace the gray...
...what is the best right answer, friends?
Max, thanks for reminding to embrace the gray ... I love you and Hippo Birdie Two Ewes...

No comments:

Post a Comment