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18 Nov 2019

Does Common Sense Exist?

“Common sense is sound practical judgment concerning everyday matters, or a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge that is shared by nearly all people.”

Let’s dive into the definition…

Is sense really common?

The above definition implies that the average person should just know how to act in specific situations, but the problem with that is we are all different. You and I weren’t raised the same, didn’t learn the same things, didn’t have the same experiences, don’t live by the same rules—so what may seem to be common sense to me could be new information for you and vice versa. Wait, what?!

Here’s my theory… If sense were common, then we wouldn’t see road rage, violence, greed, and poor manners. No one would fall out, breakup, or argue over how to parent or teach children. We’d all agree on the fundamentals in life.

But we don’t.

Different experiences = Different sense.

Through my work, I’ve learned that sense and awareness is not common for people. Our experiences impact what we learn and how we perceive what happens around us and because we all experience different circumstances, we learn different lessons. There’s nothing common about it.

For example, my parents raised me to believe that mistakes are opportunities—an essential part of learning and growth. This is now common sense to me, but when I present this idea to a child who was raised to believe mistakes should be avoided, it’s new for them. They’ve learned the opposite.  

When our version of sense differs, whose opinion is common?

None.

Does this sound familiar? Someone acts in a way that surprises you and your instant reaction is: ‘Well, it’s common sense, right?’

But what if it’s not?

I remember one day we had guests over. After greeting them at the door, I expected they would take off their shoes. Instead, they walked around inside with their shoes on.

And here’s where sense isn’t common. At my house, we remove our shoes at the door, at their house that isn’t the expectation. 

What if it’s not about common sense but rather expectation?

When your expectations aren’t communicated, others won’t know what you want. How would my guests know to remove their shoes if they normally don’t at their house? In this case, I should have politely asked them to leave their shoes at the door They would then know my expectations instead of me relying on common sense.

It’s too easy to jump to the assumption that someone should know better because it’s common sense.

The more helpful reaction is to identify what your expectation is and clearly and politely communicate it to the other person.It’s simple, really! By being clear about expectations you can save yourself and others from unnecessary disappointment.

Until next time…

sara westbrook signature
6 Nov 2019

What does it Take to Move On to Let Go to Forgive?

The classroom culture was being affected by a few students who were holding onto words and actions that had taken place since…wait for it…GRADE 2!! For the last 6 years they tried to move on but ‘the moving on’ was a struggle because they had never forgiven each other.

There was a shift in the room when the students communicated how they FELT about what happened in grade 2. 

They realized the problem wasn’t what happened in grade 2, the problem was the emotions the circumstance triggered. They never learned to express their emotions or move through them in a healthy way or forgive.

They agreed they wanted to create a school culture where respect and kindness rule. Hard to do with a dark cloud of emotions hovering over you – easier to accomplish when you are willing to listen to each other’s emotions with compassion and respect. So that’s what we worked on during the workshop and it was incredible to see the shift.

Forgiveness isn’t saying what happened is ok – it’s saying that you are no longer willing to carry around the pain, anger and resentment.

Once they reached the point where they were able to forgive themselves and those around them, the room we were sitting in became a lighter, brighter and more connected place.

We ended in a circle.

As each person shared a piece of wisdom for the group, we wrapped coloured string around each wrist so they could see that through sharing they are connected. Before we cut the string between each of them (so they could each leave with a string bracelet), one person shouted ‘let’s all link our hands!’

Until next time,

sara westbrook signature