Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Too Much of A Good Thing

“And sometimes we confuse the thing we want with the thing we need…”

Many times, people use the word “need” instead of “want” or they use the word too much and think it means the same.

Many times, the things we want are not necessarily the things we need.

I learned a hard lesson from my first backpacking trip. I read all the books that tell you to only bring what you need. So, I made a pile of all the things I needed. I needed extra clothing in case I got cold. I needed extra food in case I got lost. I needed extra books in case I got bored. I guess you can see the pattern in this. As you may imagine, I overpacked and the hike was pretty miserable.

I learned that I didn’t need extra clothing and that if I layered, my clothes were appropriate for any weather. I never used the extra clothing. I carried too much food that I never touched such as a huge bag of cookies, a huge bag of M&Ms, and a bottle of wine! What was I thinking?! I brought 2 huge books about the area and hiking trails, but I was so tired and sore when we arrived at our campsite that I never looked at either book.

Looking back, I see that all that wasted and wrong things that I brought were not things that I needed but were just things that I wanted.

So now I have a new system to make my brain think more realistically. I ask myself what would happen if I don’t have it because I forgot it or I lost it. Will I die without it? If the answer is no, then it is not a necessity and is considered a luxury.

On a recent trip to Europe, I switched to a smaller suitcase and brought half as much as I normally take on a trip. I had plenty of clothes and everything I needed. In fact, I realized I could have streamlined even more if I needed to.

When students are learning new things, they tend to confuse need and want also. When they say they need my help, I tend to delay my help for a few minutes and sometimes they are able to help themselves. This is when they realize that they didn’t necessarily need my help, but they wanted my help. It can be very empowering when they learn that sometimes they can solve their own problems and really don’t need my help.

When my students want to do something, I help them figure out what they need to learn in order to achieve their goal. This helps them focus on the need before the want. It is also motivational when they hit obstacles and are struggling.

How do you teach students to differentiate between their needs and their wants? Please share.

Photo by Tyson Dudley on Unsplash

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