"We give too much attention to yes, but and rarely, if ever, embrace the more powerful questions of why not? and how can we?”
When I stop and think about this, I realize that I do spend too much time with the “yes, but…”I use that as an excuse not to try new foods or try new things which keep me from having new adventures.
I think I need to train my mind with a new thought such as “Why not? What is the worse that can happen?” If the worse is not severe illness, injury, or death to myself or others, I need to move forward.
I remember years ago when I was in Nassau, Bahamas and allowed this man to put a boa constrictor around my neck. No, I had not been drinking and I wasn’t mentally incapacitated. I didn’t event think about “yes but” or “what if” at the time. It was more of a Star Trek - “boldly go where no man has gone before” kind of attitude.
Over the years I have let the “yes but” stop me from trying things like rock climbing or roller blading. Now the worse that can happen at my age is severe injury and I’m not willing to risk it.
How many times have our students felt in this same predicament? How many times are they not willing to risk being told they are lazy or a failure because it has happened so many times in the past. For some students, this shot in their self esteem is a severe injury and they aren’t willing to risk it. I have to figure out ways that I can protect my students so that they can make mistakes without causing severe injury to them emotionally. Not one way will work for every student but I need to be there to catch them when they fall and keep them from getting hurt severely. I’m not saying I can keep them from getting hurt, any more than a parent can protect their own child all of the time. Sometimes the small hurts are actually important lessons. But we can keep them from getting severely hurt which is even more important.
Sometimes by building them up so the setbacks don’t hurt too much is a successful strategy. Sometimes preparing the students for possible setbacks and talking about how to respond to setbacks can also work. Sometimes by giving them strategies to deal with setbacks and teaching them how to move forward will help them.
How do you help your students get past the “yes but” and move to the “why not”? Please share.