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Strongly vs. Nothing

Posted on December 10, 2010 at 2:03 PM

I spent two days this week at an Early Childhood Growth and Development Workshop. Theorists, growth charts, brain development and predictable milestone processions.

 

I walked in on the first day on time. (That's my M.O. afterall; on time. Never early, rarely late, usually right on time. Drives my husband and oldest children nuts.)

 


hmp! It is what it is!

 

I've been to these types of workshops before. I know that it's going to be interactive and it's imperative where you sit. Too close and you're stuck. Too far and zoning out becomes uncontrollable.


Plus today there are tables set up all around the room. I have to choose a seat at a table where I'm anticipating being involved in mandatory group activities. I am recognizing, as my eyes quickly scan the room, my choice is critical to the success of the next two days. Choose poorly and I'm stuck with a dud group for 20 hours. Choose well, the potential for interactive learning is endless.

 

Not really having too many choices (darn those early birds!) I choose the table closest to me. There is one open seat on the end. I ask, "Is this seat open?"

"Yes!" the kind faced woman replies.

 

As luck would have it I choose well. The speaker is engaging and our table seems to work well together on many of the tasks.

 

On day 2 of the conference the group activities are mixed up to include everyone...all the tables. We are told that the presenter will post a few random statements that we are to individually evaluate and then choose how we feel about the them. The four corners of the room are designated with signs that read:

AGREE

STRONGLY AGREE

DISAGREE

STRONGLY DISAGREE

 

Once you've choosed a corner, each group will be encouraged to explain their stance on the statement and try to dissuade others into their corner.

 

Statement 1: "Very young children should not be encouraged to watch any television"

Statement 2: "All children have special needs"

Statement 3: "Dittos (aka worksheets) should never be used to teach young children"

Statement 4: "Young children should be encouraged to paint with pudding"

 

For 1, 3, & 4 I choose the STRONGLY AGREE corner.

For statement 2 I choose AGREE.

In all four instances I was in the minority corner. In fact, on the first occassion I felt a little assailed as the majority group argued vehemently that T.V. could be a tool for teaching children. To which I agreed with, but I felt that children can learn the same things in better ways without passive television viewing.

 

"All children have special needs" had a corner full of STRONGLY AGREE delegates and STRONGLY DISAGREE folks. Again, I was challenged and had to defend my reasonings as I stood alone in the AGREE corner. And while I'd like to believe I represented my cause in a mature and meaningful exchange I can honestly say the exercise rattled me a little.

 

Even though I felt good about feeling very strongly with regards to my beliefs, I absolutely did not enjoy being the center of the group's attention fearing I appeared as a stubborn contrarian.

 

con·trar·i·an  /kənˈtrɛəriən/ [kuhn-trair-ee-uhn] 

–noun

a person who takes an opposing view, esp. one who rejects

the majority opinion, as in economic matters.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Origin:

contr(ary) + -arian




At one shuffling point in the activity I overheard two women discussing which corner they should choose. The older said to the younger, "Watch which one she (me) chooses. She's the one with the balls!".

 

I was distracted for the remainder of the conference. I know that I come off that way at times but that doesn't mean that I relish looking so stern. I actually haven't liked that about myself (thanks Birkman) and I was hurt that a stranger would say I have balls. I have no balls. There was a time when that would have really, really bothered me.


Another women spoke up from her AGREE corner. When asked why she wasn't standing with me in the STRONGLY AGREE minority, she shrugged her shoulders and said, "I guess I'm just not the type to ever feel strongly about anything!"


Choosing a corner and being in the minority, standing alone before the group and being confronted for my lone beliefs ... well the whole thing was uncomfortable and let's face it - probably wasn't my best moment. But this morning, coffee in hand, I'm thinking about that afternoon again. And it reminds me of one of my favorite lines:


"I want to go somewhere and marvel at something." Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love


So today, after some reflection, I'm deciding that I think it's worth it for me to risk looking like a hard a$s so that I can experience feeling deeply when it comes to my convictions.


 I'd rather feel strongly about something than feel nothing over everything.

 

Julia in Eat, Pray, Love                                                      Me, starring in my own life

Categories: Life Thru My Lens

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