Part 1: The therapeutic value of a big chief tablet and a number 2 pencil
Our daughter is fond of saying “Adulting is hard”. I believe most of us would agree. It seems like school simply did not prepare us for life as an adult. Or did it; and we simply are neglecting to put those life skills imparted to us to good use today. I know when I walked across that graduation stage so many years ago I thought I would have little to no use for the knowledge I had just gained. To a large part that’s true. I love playing along when I catch a rerun of “Are you smarter than a fifth grader”. I’m sure I knew the answer to each question once upon a time, just don’t need it today. But what about the life skills those long ago subjects helped instill in us? Those I believe we desperately need today as we navigate the world of adulthood. Let these next few blog posts remind you of them and if you will bring them back I can promise you will lower your stress, better manage your anxiety and lighten your life.
Now I realize that I’m dating myself bringing up the big chief tablet. But it was the essential tool in my grade school classrooms. Everybody (in my day) had one along with the ever reliable number 2 pencil. You won’t find the tablets anymore so I’m guessing at some point we determined that they were politically insensitive. Yet my Granddaughters had as a requirement a bound notebook as part of their school supplies this year. So simply bring this forward to whatever you had that contained bound, blank, lined paper in it. Just seeing the image above was enough to transport me decades into the past. To Mrs. McElroy’s third grade homeroom class and the dreaded book report. As the date drew near to turn in said report, my mind was probably full of math problems, history lessons, etc. An amazing thing would happen though as I took out my tablet and sharpened my pencil, my mind began to clear. Those math problems, history lessons and the like were tabled for a later time. The big chief was open and my thoughts began to coalesce into the outline of the paper I wanted to present. Fast forward 40 something years and the same thing happens every time I take out a notepad and pen. My brain wants to not waste the paper or ink. Just the act of taking my notepad and pen in hand causes my brain to focus in on what is most important. I do this with clients all the time during a brainstorming session. Their thoughts may be all over the board but as soon as I take out a notepad and pen, the magic happens. Suddenly they are more focused on the task at hand. (I believe we were all scolded at one point about wasting paper!) Just having them see those two everyday items is enough to cause their brain to focus so as not to waste them.
Try this out for yourself the next time you are having trouble focusing. Stop trying to mentally untangle the issue and instead take out a notepad and pen/pencil. I promise you it will work. Your mind will sort through everything with less effort on your part in order to allow you to write down the truly important things. I’m a huge fan of to do lists. Again the act of having to take out paper and pen makes me focus on what is it I really have to get done today. Now I know I will hear from someone about how their phone can voice record their notes and allow them to type out lists or thoughts. IT’S NOT THE SAME!! I too have those apps on my phone and use them from time to time when notetaking is simply not possible. The therapy is not in the note itself as it is the sight, smell and feel of a notepad and pen. Sometimes you just got to rock it old school! Try this out for yourself. I’m telling you it was an invaluable tool imparted to us long ago that will ease your world today.