Friday, June 20, 2008

Kiss of Death

"Hmmm, what would you recommend?" Easy question. It's just your opinion but you know the old adage, everyone's got one. Don't answer it! It's a set-up! Fine, go ahead, everyone does but guaranteed, it's the kiss of death. If you want someone to choose the one you want then recommend the opposite.

When I was in high-school I worked at the local theater. I loved that job! As I moved up the ranks from lowly concession worker to the pinnacle of success as the "Head Cashier" I also took on the responsibility of recommending and giving my opinion to the average movie goer.

Mistake #1: Thinking that they value my opinion.
Mistake #2: Thinking that they would like the same type of movie that I enjoyed.
Mistake #3: Taking it personally when they invariably chose the "other" movie.

I think this goes for books as well. There are "those books". The ones that we connect to on some deep and personal level. We wonder how that author knew that we had felt that same emotion at some point and how in the world were they able to express it so simply when it was so complex. I enjoy seeking out and "discovering" my next most favoritist book but I would be less likely to put that same book on my favorite list if it was told to me by someone else first, that it was an excellent book. I think it all comes down to ownership. I am not able to own something to the same degree if someone "gives" it to me. I want to seek it out, find it, and then take it or leave it. It's my choice and I own it!

"It's choice - not chance - that determines your destiny." -- Jean Nidetch”

Death March

It's human nature. If someone tells you to walk, it's forced. If you decide to walk, it's lovely. This is a broad generalization but think about it. If someone had told Forest to "Run", would he have? Yet, within himself he was able to do the unthinkable because he was searching to fill a need, a want, a desire. This might be why everyone loves Forest. We can all relate to him on some level and perhaps, wish we were a little more like him.

Consider the 10,000+ men who died while walking the Death March of Bataan in the Philippines during WWII. They didn't die from walking but rather the conditions in which they were forced to walk. The distance was a measley 60 miles but it's all about location, location, location. The tropical heat, lack of food and water, physical abuse, and disease made this such a deadly stroll.The difference between being forced and the ability to choose.

These examples may be two extremes and you could easily argue that one has nothing to do with the other but I ask you to think about the power of choice.Every day in classrooms across America children are either being given a choice or they are being forced. Forced to read a book that they have no interest in...the horror! Or, hopefully, given the choice in what book they'll read next, ah, the joy! Teachers can be the dictator or the liberator. Which will you be?

Nathan's Native American Button Blanket

Nathan's Native American Button Blanket
Eagle patterned button blanket designed for beauty and warmth. To see more pictures of how he made this click on the picture above.

Rick Miller - Bohemian Rhapsody