Read the Label then Take the Lid Off of the Jar

This is going to be a bit of a read, but if you stick with it until the end it will make sense.

I used to teach preschool in an integrated classroom. In my class I had, at one point 8 special needs kids and 14 regular ed ones. Autism, William’s Syndrome, Trisomy 21, severe abuse that left mental impairment. I was not (as you can imagine) an icky poo, sweet preschool teacher but I loved my job and the kids loved me and the classroom was a good setting. I have a passion for teaching and learning and love it.

Parents came in, toting their kids, introduced their names and ages and then proceeded to tell me their labels. Labels are a useful thing actually. We like to label. My dog is a schnauzer, my horse is an Icelandic, my child is a musician, my dad is an engineer. Labels are good because they give us a starting point. The thing is along with labels on a jar comes lids. and lids keep anything from coming out or going in. And that is where we run into a problem.

This jar of garlic has a label. Great. That tells me what it is. It has a lid. That keeps it in there neatly. and if that is all that ever happens with that jar, it is labeled and it has a lid, then peeled garlic in a jar in the refrigerator is all it will ever be. If I open the lid and start trying it with new things, it grows into something beyond peeled garlic in a jar. I take the lid off and mix it with some potatoes and milk and other things and it becomes soup. I saute it with mushrooms and it becomes… well something yucky but you more adventuresome palates probably like that. You get the gist.

We do this lid and label thing with children, pets, horses, neighbors.

My dog is a beagle, therefore it…howls constantly. That is just the way it is.My pony is a mini, therefore it…is a brat. Everyone knows minis are brats.My child is adhd, therefore it…is hard for him to behave in a restaurant. That is what adhd does to kids.

No. just No.

This is where your “whatever” starts. Like the peeled garlic in that jar with the lid on it. But it is Not all that it has to be.

You have to read the label then Take The Lid Off. Start fiddling and messing around and trying this and that and asking people stuff. and If you do this, instead of accepting that the jar of “whatever” is all you will ever have, then it will grow into something much more than that jar constrains it to be. Maybe like me you are not a good cook and this is not your area to shine in. But that is a you thing and not the jar’s problem. I am not a good cook, nor do I like to do that so I find other people to surround myself with who are and can make something better out of the jars that I have.

In my preschool classroom I had the William’s Syndrome child. That is a fascinating diagnosis and she was probably my toughest kid. Actually she was made tougher by the fact that her parents refused to acknowledge that was what her label was so they never had a place to start their journey. I kept trying new things with her because order was a nightmare in the beginning in her case. Finally I discovered that she absolutely LOVED Louie the Lightening Bug so I made her a Louie book and laminated it and hung it on the classroom wall. If she held it together during activities for a certain amount of time she got to get her book down and page through it and sing Louie songs for a few minutes. This worked great. It was a creative solution that required thought, time, creativity and effort to come up with and implement. I could’ve just left that lid on her jar and all she would have ever been in my classroom was a disruption, living in chaos and not making any forward progression.

Don’t leave your lids on all of the time. Acknowledge the label, take the lid off and start mixing the contents with stuff. Enjoy the journey and the rewards of figuring out what all you can make with what you were handed.

(by the way, I hate cooking and most food. but the analogy is one that is easy to understand. LOL)

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