The Dreaded Think, Pair, Share

 

Linking up with Heading Home today for Five Minute Friday.

Today’s word:

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When I was in the classroom, I used to inflict my students with this activity:

“Ok, folks, I would like for you to read the following paragraph, and then (wait for it…) Let’s do a Think, Pair, Share!”

The children would groan. Well, they were too kind to groan out loud. No, they would stuff those groans inside and then slump over with silent, overflowing groaning in mime, as they read and prepared themselves to share.

Think, Pair, Share had good intentions, ya’ll. It really did. The concept was solid – think over something, share your thoughts with another, this allows you to Stop, Collaborate, and Listen, which only then leads us to start nodding our heads along with Vanilla Ice’s horrible riff on Queen, and from there?

Oh, I don’t know. I have totally lost my train of thought here. Probably too much sharing, in that I just revealed to you that I do have the lyrics to “Ice, Ice Baby” still in my head, packed in with too much coffee this morning.

Anyhow.

Think, Pair, Share. It’s not the Thinking or the Pairing that was the issue. It was trying to come up with something somewhat intelligent and inspiring to SAY. Forced SAYING of things does not go well. I, of course, was looking for depth, insight, that moment of zen when a student says, “I feel that Scout had a deep sense of reverence for her father all throughout the book, but it wasn’t until his final speech at the courtroom that she was able to realize it.” Instead, I get this: “I don’t get this book. I read the whole thing. We’re in the last chapter. When is someone gonna kill the mockingbird?” *

I am sharing all this with you to tell you this:

I am not really into sharing. I do like to talk, a lot, about myself. It’s my favorite subject, really. I love to chatter on, witty and all, about my sons trying out their wrestling moves on Steve the Cat.

But sharing is hard. Sharing means vulnerability. Sharing means… I might show someone that I’m not large, in charge, and totally in control. Because, really? I am so not in control. Of anything.

And when I had kids? This takes this sharing thing OFF the CHARTS. Because, if you don’t learn to talk and lean on your girlfriends a bit, after a day of being surrounded by little mouth breathers who have made it their mission in life to MISS the toilet seat as artistically as possible, you will lose your mind. And then, there won’t be any mind to share at all.

Just a tired out, blob of a mom.

When Blonde was first born, I morphed into that blobby mom. I don’t really know how or why… (well, I do know some of it – I was totally post partumming all over the place, and was also looking into the abyss of a very real addiction to alcohol, so it’s NO wonder I got a bit wonky)… and I got so isolated and alone that I actually started to feel like I wanted it that way.

One time, I saw a neighbor friend coming up the front walk, and I so did not want to TALK to anyone, that I actually dropped to the ground to avoid her seeing me through our wide picture window. I know. Nutball. (No, I will NOT divulge who the neighbor friend was. And YES, I will agree, my behavior was a bit silly. But, I’m SHARING, here. Don’t judge. Or, judge, but just don’t message me about it.)

As I was lying there on my carpet, staring at all the mating dust bunnies under my couch, I wondered, “Hm. This is a bit over the top, even for you. Perhaps, you have issues?”

I learned to get out. To see people. To talk a bit. And then, it took me about FIVE years to get sort of comfortable with the concept of sharing. REALLY sharing.

I’m still working on it.

But if we don’t learn to lean on each other, and share the load? Then, we’re all alone, stuck with a big stick, and no one to help us carry it.

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“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
― Mother Teresa

* This is a true story. My student was an avid hunter. He was not an avid reader. The ONLY thing that kept him engaged in this classic was the hoped for hunting scene and that oh-so suspenseful demise of the mockingbird. Poor kid.

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