Just Sayin’: Footprints in the Concrete

In one of my other meanderings and musings for public consumption, I mulled over thoughts about one’s personality/character traits. In that blog I wrote about how incoming information is processed, either in random or sequential order.

The other axis, the one I promised you that I’d get to eventually… if I remembered. Ummm, ah, yes  – the abstract/concrete axis.

I like to think of this dichotomy as the random/sequential continuum pertaining to how information is taken in. The abstract/concrete continuum would be the way it is used and stored.

Now, look folks,  I don’t have any degree in this stuff. I don’t even know what type of degree would cover this information. Doctor of personality traits? Mmm maybe not! I just have a lot of years’ worth of life experiences, no small part of that experience being 27 years in a cell  uh … classroom, with junior highers. Now,  that should be worth a doctorate of  something!

So, how DO you process the information you’ve received? Here’s a test for you. When being given directions to someplace, would you prefer to have a well-drawn map, or the directions written down in a list form?  When looking at house plans, does it all look like chicken scratching to you or can you visualize the finished building?

There are those of us who, when given directions, visualize a map in our heads. Others need to be able to see the name written on a street sign. There are those of us who look at a map of someplace we’ve never been and visualize a scene. There are others of us who need to have been there to be able to visualize the terrain.  One is certainly not better than the other. And, as I said about the random/sequential processing, few, if any,  live at one extreme or the other.

So, what is the value of these observations?  I think it actually does help to know how your own mind does or does not work. This allows one to ameliorate some  elements of one’s own experience. Maybe we understand that little thought better as “lighten up on ourselves.”

It also allows us to better understand some of the behaviors of those around us.  We can either help that person make adjustments (not to be confused with excuses) for those traits, or at least not take it so personally when one of those traits affects your own life.

“I forgot my homework”  becomes a matter of disorganization, not a matter of defiance (well, sometimes). This also gives you some hint as to suggestions that can be made to the parent about the student. Caveat here: tread carefully when dealing with the behavior of others, and especially the behavior of a parent’s child!

I believe there is a scripture that speaks about removing the moat in one’s own eye before attempting to do surgery on the splinter in someone else’s eye. Best that we all keep that firmly in mind.

Meanwhile, what’s your processing style?

Adrienne Jacoby is a 40-plus-year resident of Shasta County and native-born Californian. She was a teacher of vocal music in the Enterprise Schools for 27 years and has been retired for 11 years.
A musician all her life, she was married to the late Bill Jacoby with whom she formed a locally well -known musical group who prided themselves in playing for weddings, wakes, riots, bar mitzvas and super market openings. And, oh yes . . . she has two children, J’Anna and Jayson.

Adrienne Jacoby
Adrienne Jacoby is a 40-plus-year resident of Shasta County and native-born Californian. She was a teacher of vocal music in the Enterprise Schools for 27 years and has been retired for 11 years. A musician all her life, she was married to the late Bill Jacoby with whom she formed a locally well -known musical group who prided themselves in playing for weddings, wakes, riots, bar mitzvas and super market openings. And, oh yes … she has two children, J’Anna and Jayson.
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4 Responses

  1. Your students were lucky to have you as a teacher; someone who could take their learning styles into consideration.

    My style much prefers directions written down, preferably with lots of landmarks thrown in. Maps make me crazy. I go blind and just spin the map around and around trying to orient myself. When I print out Map Quest directions, I ditch the map and keep the written directions.

    I also "lost" my homework a lot.

    🙂 Thanks for your thought-provoking Just Sayin' columns.

  2. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Great article Adrienne! I'm a map person. When I travel my brain is making a map, and when I move to a new town my brain automatically starts creating a map. When I hear directions, I "see" the map in my head. You made some great points. One being that we need to realize that our brains work differently.

    I think your observations fall under neuroscience, and it's observations like yours that give researchers new ideas direction.

  3. Avatar Sally says:

    I will forever be grateful of your use of "ameliorate" since I had to look it up in the dictionary. It is a very positive word (to make or become better;improve).

    • Avatar `AJacoby says:

      I had to go look. I didn't remember using that word. To me it's always painted the picture of relieving stress. The illustration I see in my head is taking the top of a shaken bottle of pop. Thanks for your comment.