Counting On What Counts

Nov 24th, 2010 | By | Category: Thoughts


As was so aptly put by Albert Einstein, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted”.

Those of us in education are very good at counting and keeping track of student performance with numbers and data. We notice every error in spelling, math, writing, reading accuracy, quizzes, chapter review questions, unit tests, and standardized tests. Scores often reflect what is left after all of the errors are subtracted. I have even seen spelling and math tests returned with the “score” in red ink and a minus sign in front of the number. Wouldn’t it be better to put +17 instead of -3?

Teachers rarely miss inappropriate behaviors in their classrooms, the hallways, the cafeteria, the gym, at recess or on the bus. Outside of school, parents notice when children are misbehaving much more often than when they are being “good”. That seems to be adult human nature – notice what is “bad” and frequently make a comment. How would we, as adults, like it if the only comments we heard from our boss were about our mistakes? What kind of message would result and how would we feel?

Consider this thought from Dr. Wayne Dyer – “when we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change”. When we shift our “noticing” to what is “good” and comment on the “good” more often, the message that is heard changes, as well as the impact. Also consider this sage offering from Ralph Waldo Emerson – “the ancestor of every action is a thought”. By choosing to notice what is correct, right, or appropriate, we have the opportunity to choose a positive thought that results in positive words and positive actions.

We could count all of the mistakes in the lives of our children . . . we could count all of the incorrect answers in school . . . but none of them really “count” in the larger scheme of life. What “counts” most in shaping the lives of children is the relationship they have with their teacher, parents, and significant adults in their lives . . . the “uncountable” smiles, statements of thanks & appreciation, comments on being helpful, kindness,  and caring gestures & words.

To quote Dr. Wayne Dyer once more, “anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but no one can count the apples in a seed.” Mistakes and misbehaviors can all be easily counted, just like the seed in an apple, but no one can count the “apples” that will grow from the seeds of appreciation, thankfulness & gratitude.

© 2010  Dave Krupke  All Rights Reserved

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