I was informed yesterday that our local museum is in danger of being closed. It has had its ups and downs since it officially opened in 1978, but like many people I just took it for granted that it would always be there for generations to enjoy. I don’t have the details of the current dilemma, but will certainly make it my mission this weekend to get the whole story and try to help solve the problem. Our museum simply MUST NOT CLOSE, now or ever.
I was very upset yesterday morning when I first heard the news and I needed time to think. Like most people I react quickly to bad news, but I know that if I give myself time to think and to examine all the factors of the issue a solution may present itself. I didn’t always do that when I was younger. A situation arose, an idea popped into my head, and I was off to save the world….
It seems to me that many of our leaders have been doing the same thing lately. The arguments about the economy, gun control, healthcare, etc. don’t often show a lot of “thinking time” has been appropriated to possible solutions. Someone just got one idea and ran with it! Of course once you take a stand, then you have to defend it, even if you realize in the middle of the argument that you might be wrong. Such is the nature of our pride.
My mother used to drive me crazy by saying, “I’ll think about it.” And it would often take her as much as a week to decide whether I could do something or not. The waiting and wondering was torture! But now I understand the wisdom of her methods. Sometimes by the time she gave me a “yes” or “no”, I was calmer and more receptive to the outcome because I knew she had really considered my desires as well as her concerns. And I knew she had discussed the issue with my father, and sometimes with other people as well. She wasn’t one to think that her way was the only way!
My students are not “thinkers” yet. They are talkers. They guess, guess, guess if they don’t know an answer. And they try to say something quickly so that if they do have the correct answer they are also the FIRST one to have it. I begin in August to attempt to change their ways! I emphasize “look, listen, and learn” for times when I am speaking, and “look/listen, think, talk” for their response. In order to do that, I must often show them that I will wait for their answer. Yesterday I wanted them to use their knowledge that each vowel makes two sounds, long or short, and I had the word “ride” on the board. They kept saying that it was “rid” so I actually sat down in my chair at the front of the room and told them I would wait for them to think about it. I only had to wait for about thirty seconds before two children remembered the other vowel sound, but sometimes that seems like an eternity to a five year old! Lol
I’ve also learned to wait longer for responses during reading. When a child is at my desk reading with me I try to be very patient and I don’t tell them what a word is until I’ve given them ample time to figure it out. After a few reading sessions I get a feel for how much time each child usually requires. Each has their thinking style. I even have one student who will remind me by saying, “Let me think.”
We all know “drama queens/kings”, people with “road rage” and others who are easily agitated by life. They make quick and often poor choices. They get themselves into situations that are negative and destructive. They irritate family and friends. They ruin their own health and happiness. Much of their stress and strife could be avoided if they just took the time to think.
That’s what I will be doing this weekend- thinking. I am passionate about the necessity of keeping the museum open. I am determined to convince others. But I am also willing to look, listen, and think about many options before I climb up on my soap box. So…stay tuned.