Monday, February 9, 2015

Clarity - No Smoke, Just Mirrors.

real, dead, armadillo.  Perfect for prom.
Go ahead, you be Moe.
My husband and I have discovered a new hobby -- we love antiquing.  My Facebook friends are either appalled or enthralled by our discoveries, primarily because I feel compelled to show the weirdest things that we find by snapping pictures with my phone and posting them.  Sometimes somebody is actually attracted to the item we are currently mocking, (case in point, the Three Stooges mask where one would insert one's own face in the center, to be surrounded by, presumably, the two lesser stooges.  Others simply horrify or leave people scratching their heads about our sanity and choice of amusement.  (This weekend, the baby head nightlight and the armadillo purse.)

 Everything old, is new again -- or so the song goes.  Honestly, I guess that an ancient armadillo could make a comeback for someone who might wear a camo dress to the prom -- although I'm not sure that the purple satin would necessarily complement the dress.  Certainly all of these items come with a certain caveat emptor warning, as prices may vary.  (The chalkbaby nightlight was $48 at the store, and half that price on ebay.)

It's all about knowing what you're looking at, and reflecting upon where it might ultimately live.  (I mean, seriously, I am okay with having a PICTURE of the armadillo purse, even if it doesn't do the item justice.  I certainly didn't need to own said item!  Those shopping for antiques are about reflection, respect for the past, and decisions about the future.  They ask questions, they may refine the questions a bit further, and either buy, take a picture (in our case), or walk on by, shaking their heads.  Some may even appreciate, admire, and love what they see, and for them, that is enough.

Every baby needs (to be) a nightlight

No Smoke, Just Mirrors....

Many of the questions asked by shoppers are similar to questions that we should be asking our students today.  Edutopia suggests that there are four types of reflection questions:
  • Backward-Looking
  • Inward-Looking
  • Outward-Looking
  • Forward-Looking
In fact, the folks at Edutopia have gone so far as to break down these four categories of questions even further, to completely examine their projects and learning.  The entire article and checklist can be found here. 

So what is the value of clarity?  That's obvious.  (Get it?  Clarity?  Obvious?  I crack me up.  I know you groaned.)  It's clear.  It lacks ambiguity, and allows a complete understanding of where you are, how you feel, how far you've come, and where you're headed next.  Reflection, purposeful reflection can be very powerful, whether evaluating antiques, or that project or paper that is ready to be turned in. 

Go ahead, find something that you've finished recently.  Maybe it's an art project, or some craft that you've done.  Maybe it's a letter to the cable company that has ticked you off one time too many.  Go ahead - express yourself.  Then open the 40 questions.  Look backward, inward, outward, and forward.  Place yourself in the shoes of others, and invite others to understand the shoes that you are wearing.   Certainly not all 40 questions need to be answered, but the skimming of the list will improve, enlighten, and evaluate much more than you could ever imagine.

By doing so, you'll find that the mirror of reflection is squeaky clean, and I'll bet you won't own anything more than a photo of that armadillo purse.