One of the rules I try to live by is to learn something new every day. It keeps life interesting and full of surprises. I love surprises. I’m sharing the lessons I learned in the Writing Center today with you. Maybe one of them will click with you.
First I learned about ravers (as in people who frequent raves) from Wendy. As it turns out there is more to their life style than showing up at big parties (raves) and doing drugs. They also subscribe to a set of values they call PLURR, an acronym for Peace, Love, Unity, Respect, and Responsibility. They think of themselves as peaceful and loving, and since they congregate at raves as often as they can, they feel a sense of unity with each other. In other words, they stick together. They also respect each other and feel a sense of responsibility to help each other out, such as when a fellow raver overdoses on Ecstasy (the drug of choice it seems). They try to calm the overdoser down and give them lots of water to drink, taking care of them as long as need be.
Next I helped Sally who was writing a paper based on the Mark Haddon book, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, about a young boy who has Asperger’s Syndrome, a term used to describe those with high-functioning autism. Sally was using terms from an article she read on “Brainology,”: fixed mindset and growth mindset. According to Sally, Christopher, the protagonist in the book, starts off with a fixed mindset, demonstrated by his not wanting to leave the comfort zone of his house or be around people he doesn’t know. He rigidly sticks to his schedule and any changes to it upset him. Through a series of challenges in his life he evolves to a point where he exhibits a growth mindset, having learned to make changes in his behavior that allow him to step out of his comfort zone to explore new people, new ideas, and to become independent, mentally and physically.
The next student, Molly, needed help with an essay on technology in the college classroom. Her point was that while smart phones are very useful to students, since they can be used to keep in contact with professors and to locate apps to help with specific subjects, like English and Math, they must be used cautiously. In other words, balance is key. Over use of smart phones tends to be distracting to the student and her classmates. In extreme cases, the student may even become over-reliant on technology and forget that it’s just a tool to learn.
For my last session of the two hours, one of the tutor trainees asked me to read her paper on her tutoring philosophy. To make tutees feel comfortable and less stressed about being tutored, she uses the Barney song to set them at ease. She sometimes even sings the lyrics:
“I love you
You love me,
We’re a happy family,
With a great big hug, and kiss from me to you,
Won’t you say you love me too.”
I have found that people either love Barney or hate him. There is no in between, but even if you don’t particularly care for Barney, like my two sons, the song would probably bring a smile to your face. Let’s put it this way, it’s not part of your typical tutoring session, which is usually a good idea. It’s a surprise.
So what did I learn from all these sessions? Don’t forget the importance of the values of Peace, Love, Unity, Respect, and Responsibility: Take care of those you love; Always demonstrate respect for others, and be responsible in all you do; Foster a growth mindset every day. Be willing to embrace new experiences and ideas; Stay balanced in all things. Too much of a good thing can turn into a bad thing. Most importantly, pay attention to all people who show up in your life. They may have important messages. For example, even though Barney is a saccharine sweet (some may say sickeningly so) big, purple dinosaur, he still has a worthwhile message that we all need to hear over and over and over again and again: Love your neighbor. We all need all the help we can get.
Causes Patricia Thomas Supports
Room to Read, UNICEF, Kiva, Save the Children, Pencils of Promise