From Black and White to Brilliant

by Mary Ann on May 21, 2010

Today my daughter and I went wedding announcement shopping. Not being a shopper of any sort these are the times that try my soul. I love my daughter and weddings are exciting, but shopping!! Despite my trepidation I girded up my loins and off we went. We stopped at a couple of places, choked on prices and then found just the perfect thing. The perfect thing was way out of our budget but being crafty, we can do anything sort of women, we decided that we could recreate it ourselves.

So off we went to my sister’s house. She felt that we were right on; we could certainly duplicate those invitations ourselves. We then spent a good hour measuring, talking paper and looking at photos. It was fun and I liked doing it with my youngest daughter, my soon to be married daughter.

While we were talking about photos my sister mentioned that she thought that people just looked better in black and white. An animated conversation took place over her comment. Then she said a very profound thing. “Maybe black and white makes people look better because we are so used to seeing them in color.” Wow! That got me thinking about when we were kids. All of our photos were in black and white. I was well into grade school before any of my photos were in color. So I said “Do you remember the first time we saw ourselves in color. Remember how we thought we looked so much better.” Isn’t interesting that what is unfamiliar is so much more appealing at times, than what we see every day. You know where I’m going with this don’t you?

As we were leaving my sister said, “Mary do you remember the Wizard of Oz. Do you remember that the movie was all in black and white at the beginning and then there was the magical moment when color burst onto the screen; wasn’t that astonishing?” I could clearly recall that exact moment. I remembered how the breath was knocked out of me from sheer amazement. I was stunned. It was so beautiful. I hadn’t even realized how drab it was before because I was used to seeing movies in black and white. It was so unexpected. I just assumed that the whole movie would be black and white.

That is what happens when you open your Spark Station and it is filled with color, new things, and excitement. That is what happens when parents are present and family learning time is consistent, when inspire and not require is the norm. That is what it is like when The Spark Station is only open during family learning time. It literally takes your children’s breath away. It isn’t that what you were doing before was so bad; it’s just that it was in black and white.

When I tell you that creating an environment like this will change your families experience during core and love of learning forever, I hope you believe me. I have seen it happen over and over again.

Remember the third rule of engagement, make it special – The spark Station is only used during your structured learning time. Remember my grandma’s cupboard.  When you throw open the Closet doors it’s like turning on the color; it is new, it’s different and it has been anticipated. It inspires! When that happens there is no need to require. The back and whiteness of nagging, cajoling, manipulating or bribing children to learn turns instead to the brilliant color of “love of learning”.

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