Saturday, February 5, 2011
Somebody Always Pays
So I've been having a great time reading my students' blog journals as they report their personal experiences with the Complaint-Free Challenge.
As I switched my band more frequently on Day #5 than I had on Days 4, 3, 2, and 1, I was comforted to know that quite a few of my students at least understood my struggle, even if they weren't "paying up" each time they switched.
Here's how one senior girl expressed herself on Day #2:
I thought that after the first day everything would become much easier. I was wrong. It did in fact make me more aware of myself but i still had trouble with my challenge.
I noticed that the people around me really influence what comes out of my mouth. Especially girls; I didn't realize how much I gossip. I never thought I really criticized either but I guess gossiping can be criticizing someone. I also complain about people which leads to gossip.
I thought that these three different categories were just that, different. I never noticed that when I do one, it often leads to the other. If I complain about someone it could lead to gossiping about them to criticizing them. I never noticed all this was so connected. It made me realize my challenge is going to be harder than i thought.
It also didn't help my friends were complaining, because I wanted to give some input. I wanted to be heard and I wanted my friends to know I agreed so bad that I just said, "Guys, I really want to complain but I can't so I just wanted to let you guys know that I agree and would complain if I could." Hahaha. (I don't know if that considered cheating. I hope not.)
It really made me wonder why I wanted to be heard so bad. Why would I want people to hear my opinion when it's only a complaint?
What a great question! Now, I'm not convinced she or I need to totally stop our complaining, criticizing, gossiping and/or sarcasm. But the Complaint-Free Challenge is causing many of us to stop and ask some really good questions.
The all-important question for me, right now: How much is this going to cost?
As each group of students came to class on Friday, the first thing they did was check the tally marks on the white board. They had to perform complex multiplication/addition before exclaiming, "Dude--Mrs. G!"
One offered to erase all the messy marks and simply write my total at the top. But I told her to leave everything just the way it was. A two-digit number is so much neater, I'll be tempted forget the 72 individual episodes that occurred one at a time...one person at a time.
On Friday, I "just couldn't resist" and pulled a student's leg (to use my dad's term!) He trustingly believed me and then blushed as the entire class laughed at his naivety.
I need that crooked tick mark–which he added himself–on the board to remind me that the question "How much is this going to cost?" is one I must continue asking myself before opening my mouth, long after this challenge is over.
So I'm just now facing a vital truth: They're never free.
There's always a cost.
Somebody always pays.