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Physics and pockets - take 'em one step at a time

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Physics and pockets - take 'em one step at a time

Take life one step at a time

As my son Colton was finishing up his physics homework at the kitchen counter Sunday morning, he said, "You know Mom, there are kids in my physics class who look at these problems - and well, the problems do look hard and complicated -- and it's overwhelming, and they just say screw it and they don't do them. "  He added, "When you start doing the problems, they're not really that hard, it's just that there are a lot of steps and it takes a lot of time."  True.  Then came the clincher.  He looked me straight in the face and said, "I know how those kids are feeling about the problems though...because last year, I was one of those kids."  I was so proud, I could have burst.  He's right.  He was one of those kids, and it's been  tough.  Colton is a super bright kid, but he's  struggled in school - not for lack of smarts, but for lack of the right mindset.  Somewhere along the way he got it in his head everything comes easily to smart people.   He reasoned that since smart people don't struggle with challenging new concepts, if he struggled, it must mean that he wasn't smart.   Not true, of course, but that old fixed mindset can be hard to shake.   Fact is that we all struggle to figure out new things.  I have only to look at how hard a time I'm having with my new IPhone to feel Colton's pain. 

Colton's physics problems are very much like the pockets on our No Plain Jane Cardigan.  After 10 inches or so, you've got to work the pockets.  Now pockets are not rocket science, but they're fiddly, and for lots of our knitters, this is their first time.  Even if you've done pockets before, there are lots of ways to do them.  The No Plain Jane designer has provided detailed instructions, which I like, but the instructions look hard and complicated, and there are lots of steps.  It can be pretty daunting, and you might feel like one of the kids in Colton's physics class as you read through them.  But don't let what seems complicated deter you.  Now, you may have decided for a thousand other reasons, that you don't want pockets.  That's totally fine.  The look is not for everyone, and you have to know yourself.  Again, totally fine.  But if you do want pockets, please don't be like the kids in Colton's physics class and say the heck with it because the process is daunting.  It's just a new thing to learn, and we're all in this together.  That's why it's called a knitalong! 

Same goes with other projects, and with life in general.  Things can seem so complicated, but if you take the directions one step at a time, it's totally doable.  Plus the learning is good for us.  The more we struggle, the more we learn and grow - that's how we stay sharp and engaged.  There's literally nothing you can't accomplish if you take it one bit at a time.  And as you go, be sure to ask for help as you need it, and remember to be kind and compassionate with yourself along the way.  We are all complicated works in progress. 

I look forward to seeing you, and all your works in progress, in the shop and around the table.  You are always welcome here.  ~Ellen

Back to 9 October 2018 Newsletter

Comments on this post (5)

  • Oct 10, 2018

    Thank you, Amy, Barbara, Mollie, and Susan, for your comments. It has been a real breakthrough, and as I said, I am so proud of him. There was no motivating him last year, and now there’s no stopping him. Thank you for being part of the team pulling for success xxxooo

    — Ellen Lewis

  • Oct 09, 2018

    Good for Colton! I’ve had variations of the first part of this conversation with my math students so many times… It’s so gratifying when they get to the second part.

    — Susan

  • Oct 09, 2018

    Great read and message. We have all felt Colton’s pain but just like him we hung in there and discovered it wasn’t so bad. Good job Colton.

    — Mollie Strotkamp

  • Oct 09, 2018

    Another wonderful life message. Just love reading your posts and find them inspiring. No wonder Colton can figure out the intricacies of life.

    — Barbara Skouzes

  • Oct 09, 2018

    Great analogy! And congrats to Colton for figuring out a really important life lesson. :-)

    — Amy Henderson

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