my space tracker

Hope Forward: Surviving and Thriving through Emotional Pain: Perception

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


I recently heard the following story:

A teacher walks into his classroom of third graders - just a bit late.  Five to ten minutes or so.  He is in a bit of a mood, feeling annoyed with himself that he is late, and in a hurry to get the class going. As he is walking in, one of his students, a little boy, is holding his left arm straight up, fist clenched.  With his right pointer finger on his right hand, he is pointing to his wristwatch and staring straight at the teacher.

Fuming, the teacher goes to the front of the classroom.  Steam coming out of his ears.  He is not interested in rebuke from this kid; he is not interested in having his lateness pointed out.  He is going to pull this kid out, he thinks.  He is going to yank him out of the class room, let him know who should be reprimanding who, give him a good loud message that everyone can hear and then send him to the Principal's office.  He will not be putting up with this kind of blatant disrespect from a student.  Things today have gone too far.  Way too far.

He then remembers his own private rule.  A rule that he has promised himself he will abide by.  No matter what.  He will wait.  He will wait 30 minutes no matter what, in any given situation short of a fire, to speak.  He will not react or respond to anything or anyone with words or actions for 30 minutes, no matter what.

He opens his lesson book, forces himself to ignore the child, and tells everyone to get out their math books.  He teaches the lesson.  He gives the kids a short break and he turns his attention to the boy with the watch, who is now running up to his desk.  Before he can get a word out, the boy says with utter sincerity and a shinning face:  "Look, Mr. Adams, my father got me a new watch for my birthday!  I couldn't wait to show it to you!"

I think that we have just got to work with our minds.  We have got to pay attention to our thoughts, our perceptions.  We just really don't know sometimes, what is really going on.  Even when we are calm, even when we are sure.  It's not that we cannot trust ourselves.  It's that we have to know ourselves.  We have to be willing to wait.  To consider the power of thought, of perception, of speech, and of our actions.  So much of our suffering is based on perception.  So much can be reworked.  Yes, we need to honor all of our thoughts and feelings, to use them as guideposts to our needs, our desires and  to propel us forward.  But if we don't slow down and sort out some of that thinking, if we get too wrapped up in what we think we know, in our thinking, we may be missing out on a whole new world both inside and out.


therapydoc said...

Oh, I love that 30 minute rule!

Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

Thanks TherapyDoc - nice to have stop by!