Tag Archives: education

Telling Lies in the Hope that They’ll Soon Be True…

Lies. After hearing this word, or being a victim of them, or having them come out of your own mouth, how do you feel? What feelings are associated with not telling the exact truth? Chances are, just naturally, they tend to lean towards the negative end of the spectrum. Even without knowing the complete story, we usually do not take kindly to lies and have an unflattering impression of the person doing the lying. These reactions don’t allow us to consider potential underlying reasons that the person has for stretching the truth. This information could prove valuable to better understand the other person and may even be turned into positive use.

That’s why I found refreshing the Globe and Mail article that offered another perspective and interpretation on reasons why people may lie or exaggerate. I particularly found enlightening one suggestion about how “lies” could actually reflect what the person is trying to achieve, or a goal to be obtained.

The article helped remind me not to jump on somebody, and too quickly form a negative impression of someone, when they lie. It gave me insight on how lying can be seen as part of the process towards something and that we should think of ways on how it can motivate.

With this in mind, would you be willing to forgive and understand some of the lies and exaggerations I’ve provided on various sections of this blog? Heheheh…..

-Patrick Law

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Not Just a Degree in Football…

There was a great article this morning in the Calgary Herald about the intelligence and smarts of certain football players. You can click here to read the full article. It helps debunk the common stereotype we often have of jocks that they have gifted physical and athletic attributes, but are lacking substance upstairs. I still remember the expression used to make fun of an introductory Geology course in university. People called it “Rocks for Jocks” because it had a reputation of being easy and the class was filled with student athletes looking to get some easy marks, or just hoping to get by.

But, as mentioned in the Herald article, take a survey of any football team, and take a look at the student athletes combining school with athletics across our campuses, and we can see that there are many examples of abilities that transcend the playing field. Already sports, in itself, is such a valuable education for learning leadership, teamwork, adversity, pressure, training, practice, and perseverance skills. With smart players, they are more likely and able to apply and transfer these skills in other contexts in the community, business, and education world during and after their athletic careers.

In the Canadian Football League, especially, with the salary being relatively low for professional athletes, knowing and learning about what players do outside sports makes them more in touch with the common folk. I think an athlete’s true power and influence comes when he/she is able to motivate not only other people in the same sport, but when someone who is totally in a different field gets inspired to go beyond limits because of an athlete’s example.

-Patrick Law

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The Danger and Importance of Expectations

When stuck in my own vicious cycle of procrastination for a long time, sometimes I get so habituated into the comfort of delay and using rationalizations automatically that they do not seem unreasonable or give off any warning signals. I find that in these cases, watching others, and their various manifestations of procrastination can then help give reflection on what I do myself in other contexts.

When seeing another person put off doing something for the wrong reasons, and diluting life in the process, we obviously are aware how counterproductive these behaviours can be. Maybe this can stir within us the action to change these very same behaviours that we display ourselves but have chosen to ignore for so long.

I was talking with a diligent student about her portfolio assignment. Her first set of entries are due later this week and we were discussing ideas about how to present it creatively, emotionally, symbolically, and in a way that shows evidence of work and experience, as well as progression of improvement and reflection on what the student learned from her experiences.

Throughout our discussions, the student was very animated and showed emotion and depth when telling stories from her childhood that she thought worthwhile to include in the beginning part of her portfolio to show how they influenced her thinking of today. We then thought together about possibilities on how to present it on the pages. Various images, drawings, and photograph suggestions came up, and the student was enthused about the creative potential and how meaningful this project is.

However, her tone changed when talk started focusing on the specific deadline and answering some of the required questions given by the teacher. She decided to give up on themes of presentation and style, and creative story telling, and instead decided to give short answers to answer directly, or maybe just do a traditional essay format. I encouraged her to try combine some of her previous ideas of pictures and symbols along with the traditional writing method, but she was reluctant.

Her reasons knocked me back a bit, but also woke me up to some of the fears that people have. She admitted that the teacher encouraged creative thinking and use of other material to supplement answers for the portfolio project. The student, from our previous discussions, obviously enjoyed creative work and finding, and interpreting meaning from stories and using pictures as symbols and metaphors. Despite all this, she reasoned that “I can’t put in extra pictures and other materials for this first entry. If I do, then the teacher will expect that I will always put in extra, and what if I can’t in the future? I better just do it safe and directly, and just get it done.”

Suddenly I realized, if this student is saying something like this, then in classrooms all over the world, many students are thinking similar thoughts and a lot of potential is being stifled. The grip of fear and worry can be so strong that a student may avoid producing something that is meaningful by focusing on the future expectations of others. Attention is taken away from current content to hypothetical implications. Furthermore, maybe even more tragic, is that many of us see high expectations as negative and something to fear. If a teacher expects to see creative thought and critical thinking in unique forms, then that can push the student to keep pushing her thinking in future projects.

Unfortunately, for those who struggle with anxiety that may lead to procrastination and putting off tasks, we seek out safety to avoid expectations.  While there is a feeling of danger in others’ expecations, and our own, they are also places and new heights that we can reach within that are not possible without expectations.

-Pat

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When Choosing Not to Read is More Difficult than Reading Passively

Do you ever feel guilty not reading enough books or watching enough movies, or just simply not having enough knowledge?

Do you ever get in a slump or hit a phase where you cannot get through and complete a thick text or sit through a whole series?

Sounds like we need a short cut! As with other short cut posts in this category, I am not suggesting these methods be used for a life time solution. The short cut is more to temporarily relieve your mind of heaviness and burden, and just to lighten yourself up for a laugh. You can call it justification, call it rationalization, call it distortion, or bending the rules, but it’s just a way to put the focus somewhere else rather than coming to the conclusion we won’t make it to heaven every time.

Didn’t finish reading or watching something? Take a short cut. A big time short cut. Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes try just not reading it. Next time someone chastises or admonishes you for not keeping up with what everyone is keeping up with, you can say you didn’t want to lose your own creativity and individuality. In other words, you purposely didn’t expose yourself to the material because you were afraid to be influenced by the interpretation of others; you were afraid of your ideas simply becoming a paraphrase of what you read or watched.

I know this short cut won’t hold water over the long term, and it goes against the quote of “standing upon the shoulder of giants,” where your own creativity and accomplishments depend on understanding and studying those greats that come before you, but sometimes, sometimes, can we please be allowed to get a little pleasure locking ourselves up in a small space surrounded by four walls with nothing accessible. No books, no manuals, no prescriptions, no top 10 lists, and just see what we come up with.

Teacher? This is why I didn’t do this particular homework assignment? Well, this particular teacher didn’t give me a zero, but actually made me do a mini-experiment and follow through on purposely locking myself in an area for a prolonged period of time without access to any reading materials or other media. She predicted that in those circumstances, the games and ideas I come up with to prevent insanity will still come from materials I read previously. Though I may create, spin, and interpret differently, I am still dependent on others, even when all alone.

Gosh, so the short cut didn’t turn out all that short after all. It may actually be more difficult to right up front put on a stance of not reading something rather than just reading and accepting something passively. Hmmm…not reading actually means reading critically? You still have to read it, to argue why we shouldn’t read it or shouldn’t be influenced by it?

By the way, she’s one of the best teachers I’ve ever had, and one who influenced me into making use of the short cuts into something more.

-Patrick Law

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