Common Sense

“Common Sense isn’t so common.”

How many times have you heard this phrase?

How many times have you really thought about it, though?

It seems like every day I come across some situation where someone’s behavior or the string of words that come out of their mouth are shocking to me. “They don’t have a lick of sense!” would be a usual response around here.

When employees are at work at a retail store and are “spoken to” because they are not being discreet with their phones… and there is no one in the store.  When teachers “modify” a test down from 75 questions to 15. When a young man with autism isn’t paid for a year of work at a restaurant. I could go on.

Maybe we are becoming more individual which is a good thing.  I mean, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and thoughts, and heaven forbid we go back to the days where kids were seen and not heard, and women voted the way their husbands did (or even to the days when women couldn’t vote!). Everyone was polite then, and there were things that just weren’t done — everyone conformed. And that’s not ideal, either.

But I think somehow, with all of this “entitlement” to our opinions, we have lost something. Is it the ability to think rationally? to problem solve? to logically analyze what’s going on and make deductions based on evidence? to reflect on ourselves, our own behavior, motivations, and actions?

I’m not one to bash technology.  I think it’s a great tool, I use it every day, all the time. But I wonder if our reliance on technology has turned us into a people that cannot think for themselves. Not just about opinions, but about facts, evidence, and what to do with those facts and evidence to make things better for other people and ourselves.

I saw it when I was teaching, and asked my 6th graders to really research and think about the purpose music had in different cultures. They would simply go to google and type: “What is the purpose of music in South Africa?”

Thinking takes time and effort, and unfortunately, I think people of all ages are doing less and less of it.  And as I always told my band kids, when they weren’t practicing their skills, “If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.”

Food for thought, my friends.

Meltdowns, Blame & Brains

The glasses we found in Myrtle Beach broke.  In the parking lot to The Boy’s favorite restaurant the other night – the lens had been popping off, and it popped off onto the concrete, and promptly broke into pieces.  He flipped out, obviously upset.  I tried to quickly calm him, but it was a no go.  It escalated, and I had to physically manhandle him into the car.  Then, because we were headed home, everything was my fault.  I broke his glasses by “punching them” with my fist!  I am the “meanest mom ever”!  I “hate” my son, and “want to kill” him as soon as we get home!

Through all this I was silent.  We got home and the harangue continued for a short while.  I sat down and pointedly ignored the ongoing outburst.  He came over to me, attempting a hug, all the the while still blaming me for his misfortune.  At one point he asked what it would take to be allowed to go back to the restaurant.  I told him I needed him to calm down, and I needed an apology.  The first apology I got was pretty backhanded, and so I explained that he had hurt my feelings with the things he had said.  I reminded him that I love him no matter what, and then he apologized for hurting my feelings and blaming me for the broken glasses.  After he had calmed a bit, we headed back to the restaurant and had a nice dinner.  At one point on the way home (again), he said all of the “hims” inside his head had made him think wrong about what had happened.  I asked how many were in his head, and he said, “Millions!”  I said they’d have to be very small to fit a million little versions of him in his head, to which he replied that they were microscopic, and you could only see them with a microscope.

He seemed to be joking, but sometimes the things he thinks up boggle me.  I can’t even begin to fathom how his mind works and processes information.  There’s a video on upworthy about having “empathy”, and “what it can be like for people with autism” – maybe you’ve seen it floating around facebook.  My mom brought up a good point, saying unless it was produced by a person with autism, wouldn’t it just be an NT assumption about what it would be like to have autism?  Yes!… But then The Boy watched it and said, “Hey! That’s just like real life!”

I don’t know if I will ever get used to not knowing what goes on inside that head.

This ultrasound shot of The Boy's Brain is probably the closest I'll ever get...

This ultrasound shot of The Boy’s Brain is probably the closest I’ll ever get…