Now that Thanksgiving’s over and the months’s moving toward Halloween, we’re entering the middle of the race?that time when we’ve lost our initial momentum coming out of the starting gate, but we’re not quite ready to use up the burst of energy that we’ll need for the homestretch.
Work’s piling up and we’re getting behind. We’ve become a bit burned out, perhaps, or at least we’re anxious about coming assignments and exams. Stressed and losing interest fast, we allow ourselves to be distracted by the many, many opportunities for time-wasting that come our way.
How to deal?
Not all wisdom comes from ancient sages. When I asked my six-year-old what advice she’d have for someone who might be struggling with homework, her advice struck a chord with me: in her words, ?When you are having trouble at school, try a thinking cap! Just put it on and you will see.?
What is a thinking cap, anyways? I’d always thought of it as some sort of futuristic contraption that downloaded knowledge directly into one’s brain circuits. But today, as I watched my daughter’s little fingers painstakingly type the words, I started seeing the world through a first-grader’s eyes.
Because maybe a thinking cap is less of a fount of intelligence and more of a set of blinkers. In elementary school, we were told to ?put on our listening ears,? ears that tune in to what’s being said by the teacher in front of us. So maybe a thinking cap is just a little more complicated version of the whole thing?an imaginary device that helps us keep distractions out of our mental sphere.
It’s no secret that we’re living increasingly distracted lives. Busy schedules, multiple commitments, and above all the flip-switch-flip culture spawned by TV, Facebook, and text messaging have all conditioned us to respond whenever we’re called.
In fact, a thinking cap might be the best weapon in our homework arsenal. While listening ears may have helped us get through elementary school, It’s the anti-distraction thinking cap that we need as adults, when our time and direction are our own to determine?or to throw away. In fact, more often than not we gladly accept distractions: look up, click the link, check the text, flip channels. All the while, precious time is going down the drain.
This week, in the face of all the opportunities for time-wasting, I’m going to put on my thinking cap and set my sights on what’s ahead, looking toward the horizon rather than to what’s going on around me. My daughter advised me to ?Try it. You will see.?
I think I will.