Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Blame Game

As some of you know and most of you have guessed, I work with students for whom impulse control is a challenge. They mean well. They mostly get up every morning with good intentions and hope beyond all reason. But it doesn't always work out. Sometimes the "right" choice isn't always the "first" choice.

Hence, I am frequently in the position of having to explain the concept of Personal Responsibility. I've gotten rather good at it over the years. At the drop of a hat (or, as is more often the case, a chair that was flung across the room) I can launch into a well-honed speech on how each of us must accept the consequences of our choices. I have fifty or so versions and can choose one that best fits the situation. If needed, I can wax eloquent on the matter for at least an hour. I can weave in personal stories from my own life experiences or craft a parable for those who might not wish to hear how Ms. Sheep handled things back in the olden days. I will cover all the salient points including, but not limited to:

*How each of us has a choice when it comes to our actions.

*How our intentions do not mean as much as those actions.

*How there is more power in accepting responsibility than in handing it off to others.

*How behavior only changes when we acknowledge our poor choices.

*How you don't get to go bowling on Friday with the rest of the class if you can't get your act together and if the other stuff doesn't mean anything to you, then that should.


Yup. I'm a regular fount of Middle School wisdom. I've got it all down pat. Of course, most of the kids in my class have been with me for years. Some have followed me around the school district since they had cartoon characters on their bed sheets. They've heard every version of this speech more times than they can count. However I don't think this detracts from the poetic quality of my words in the least. In fact, so mellifluous am I that many of them actually doze off after the first thirty minutes...

You'd think that, with all that amazing insight into the art of responsibility, I'd be better equipped to deal with mistakes in my life. It would seem that I would be rather adept at owning my actions and learning from my poor choices. You'd think this was the case.

However, I am still capable of staring at a thrummed mitten and crying out:

Stupid blog! Making me knit mittens!!! The blog is mean and should be punished for this!!

It's not the blog's fault. I told the blog I thought I should knit mittens for Mrs. Secretary Who Sits At The Back Desk and the blog said I should do it. The blog wasn't wrong. The blog was telling me what I knew all along, really.

Further, the blog never once said I should knit thrummed mittens. That decision was mine. The blog never even mentioned thrumming until I brought it up. Thrums do not come from blogs. Thrums come from knitters who are bored and who think that stuffing mittens might be fun.

I probably shouldn't have used gift mittens as a first time thrumming experiment. For that matter, I probably should have referred to a pattern or some other source of information before merrily thrumming away. It didn't occur to me that it might be a good idea to plan the thrum placement to account for the thumb gusset increases. Even so, they still might work out.
But they are a gift. I shouldn't be throwing thrums around all willy-nilly if I'm not feeling sure about it. That is not responsible behavior. So I set the thrummed mittens aside and cast on for a regular pair. I still like the thrummed mittens. I'll finish them at some point. But I'll play it safe with the gift mittens. Starting over is something I have to accept as a consequence of my own poor choices.

Now if I can just find the words to make it right with the blog. Poor blog...

SA

12 comments:

Knitting Linguist said...

I think you are right in saying that the blog never mentioned thrums. On the other hand, a word like that just invites trouble, don't you think? Also, can you come to my classes and give the "personal responsibility/consequences" talk? My students REALLY need it...

kmkat said...

There are any number of people in the US who really, really need that personal responsibility/consequences talk. At least one of them rear-ended me a few years back. But you are doing fine. You sized up your situation, took responsibility (more or less), and cast on for regular mittens. Let us hear no more of thrums (unless you need to vent, or to announce success).

=Tamar said...

I think perhaps thrummed mittens also need to be slightly bigger than regular mittens, to allow room for the thrums. More planning needed.
You are wise to have cast on for regular mittens.

Jeanne said...

Yep, always save the complicated experiments for after gifting is over, and gift simple knits. Always.

Beth said...

My blood pressure was going up until you mentioned setting the thrummed mittens aside!

Mia said...

well... I can say this... the mittens sure will be WARM! hehehe

catsmum said...

All schools should be issued with a recorded version of your speech - and it wouldn't hurt to send a copy home to all the parents as well - you know - the ones who don't accept that their parenting may have something to do with why they have children who are struggling with the consequences issue in the first place
... and while you are at it, could we maybe send a copy to the bugger who carpark-hit my new 4 x 4 and left the scene. Oh I can think of a whole raft of folks who need to hear your mellifluous tones.

Donna Lee said...

Yea, the people who need that speech are the ones who won't ever hear it.

I am almost ashamed to admit, I have store bought mittens and a store bought hat. (dont' yell at me). I finally found a hat pattern I think I can live with (I hate hats but it's been soooo cold in the morning) and I need some yarn to make mittens. Now some time to do this would be good, too.

trek said...

No. No, the blog did not mention thrums. I checked. The blog was thrum-free.

So, now you have to thrum the thumb?

Poor pun, I know, but I'll bet you smiled. :o)

Julia G said...

Your thrumming saga inspired me to pick up one of my UFOs, a chullo-style hat which I made unnecessarily complicated by deciding to thrum the earflaps to make them extra warm. I'm still going to thrum 'em, but decided to just skip the earflaps and start the hat using a provisional cast-on and kitchener stitch the earflaps on later.

Still, it makes sense to make MSWSATBD's mittens sans thrumming (with the blog's blessing). That will give you more time to finish writing "Chicken Soup for the Middle School Soul"!

Elaine said...

I'll bet that MSWSATBD has never even heard the word thrum.... so she'll never miss those nice warm, soft, cushy things. I do, however, think *you* would LOVE a nice pair of thrummy mittens. It would be a nice Feb vacation project......

Karen said...

Do whatever you feel like knitting. If you feel like knitting plain mittens do that, if not, thrum. The knitting choices are yours. It appears you have no choice over which students you get and how many times they are in your class...