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The Idea Man

8 Mar

My husband is an idea man. He is absolutely amazing at coming up with ideas. You give him a topic, he’s got an idea for it. The only problem is, he doesn’t want to carry it out. “Sounds like a lot of work,” he’ll say.

So this is how our marriage goes:

“Dearest husband, we haven’t seen our friends in a while. What can we do about that?”
“I think we should have a Halloween party this year! We can have a haunted house, and we can set up a mad scientist’s laboratory, all the food can be Halloween-y, and we can have great costumes!!”
“That sounds like a great idea! How should we do all that?”
“I don’t know Aim. Sounds like a lot of work. I just come up with the ideas.”

So then I set to work for about two months putting together the most impressive Halloween extravaganza you’ve ever seen. The backyard is transformed into a graveyard, the entire bar is served in a laboratory with bubbling broths and glowing specimens, and most of my Internet time is dedicated to Martha Stewart’s page of Halloween recipes. I get stressed out. I’m up late making fake brains and scary invitations. And all my husband says is “You’re spending too much time on this Aim. We don’t need all this. You always do this.”

Is he kidding me? He must be. Because when it gets down to the day of the party, he’s more impressed than all the guests combined. “I love it! It’s amazing. I would have never thought we could pull this together! We throw the best parties ever!”

But I do it to myself. It is true that the idea is half the work. So I keep going back for more. “I need a lesson that will really help my kids to face their fears, look at themselves, and really start to deal with some of their problems. Any ideas for that?”

This lesson was by far the best idea my idea man ever had. It was (of course) a lot of work on my part but the rewards far outweighed the trouble. My students bared a little piece of their souls to me, to each other. They really put themselves out there. It started with a very simple question:

“What’s missing from your life?”

No one said anything silly. No one suggested that the only thing missing from their life was being back in bed instead of being in my classroom. Instead, people started talking about their brother who had been shot. Or the fact that there was no food in the kitchen this morning when they were hungry. Or how their Dad had walked out before they were even born. They might not have had the artistic talent to create a masterpiece about it, but they each found their own way to make their point. Please, take a minute to check out the pictures of what we made. I love this quilt. It took a week after the actual lesson to wash and dry the pieces, fit them together, and actually sew it, but it was totally worth it. I’ll hang that quilt up in every classroom I ever teach in, just to remind me how lucky I am to have gone through this process with those kids.
Get the full lesson plan here!

Here is an idea of the photos I use in my “What’s Missing PowerPoint Presentation”