Today’s Song: “Off to the Races” by Lana Del Rey
For my Teaching Composition class, in which we learn to teach composition (didn’t see that one coming did you?), we’ve begun reading a new book. Written by James E. Fredricksen, Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, and Michael W. Smith, it’s titled So, What’s the Story? Teaching Narrative to Understand Ourselves, Others, and the World. Now I’m going to guess at least half my readers are feeling that it sounds like a boring book straight from the pits of hell, and the other half are feeling sympathy for me having to read such a book straight from the pits of hell. But I assure you, this book was not only my choice to read (we had to choose from a list), but also a book that I’m quite enjoying reading. What?
That’s not the point
The reason I bring up this book is that halfway through the second chapter, an idea was presented. An idea that made me stop reading, stop taking fairly horrible notes, and think. I might add, that I was supposed to have been finished with the reading already, so taking the time to stop and think is a big deal.
The passage reads:
“In Jeff’s family, the value of story has achieved the status of a decision-making heuristic. Jeff heard a cowboy poet on NPR once say that Americans’ obsession with materialism led to impoverished living. He maintained that the old bumper sticker: ‘He who dies with the most toys, wins’ should be revised to ‘He who dies with the most stories, wins.’ Whenever the family or a family member has a decision to make, whether it is small or large, Jeff—or now one of his daughters—is likely to ask, ‘What decision will give you the best story?’”
I don’t know about you
But I’ve spent most of my life thinking about what to do. Thinking over decisions rather than making them. Thinking about what I should have done, would have done, or could have done differently. I think about what consequences actions and decisions will bring. Not the stories. I can’t say I’ve had a boring life, but what stories would I tell my children, grandchildren, etc.? I like to think I have stories to tell, but they’re always hard-won. I don’t make decisions based on the story, I base it on the consequences.
This was how I was brought up. Think before you do. Think before you say (that lesson didn’t stick). I don’t plan on stopping this thought process. In fact, sometimes I think I need to think a little more. But when I’m afraid, reluctant, or uninterested in doing something maybe I just need to think which will make a better story.
I’m telling you readers the story of my life at CSU, after all. Until Friday, readers.