The ruin of Rome…

Cheyenne had an assignment to create a model representing the architecture from Ancient Rome.  She decided that this model would be best created with air dry clay so we  scurried over to Michaels on Friday so that she could create her masterpiece on Saturday morning and have it dry by Monday morning.  She worked diligently on the masterpiece and when she was done she had a building with columns, benches and a cross.  She created the roof separately to be set on top later after all the columns were dry.  The masterpiece sat in the guest room all weekend drying undisturbed.

Come Monday she hurried out the door without it and I was left to bring it up to the school.  I found the perfect sized box and gingerly put the creation inside – piece of cake.  Then I picked up the roof to put it in the box – not a piece of cake.  Somewhere between me picking it up and it be placed successfully in the box it broke into a dozen powdery pieces.  And, to add insult to injury one of the bigger roof pieces also knocked off a couple of the pillars.

I felt like one of the Brady kids when they were playing football in the house and broke their mother’s favorite vase.  I broke the masterpiece – OMG!!!  All I could think about was how upset Cheyenne would be.  I knew there was no hope for the roof, but I figured I could at least glue the pillars that had fallen.  You’d be surprised how much glue is required to hold up a clay pillar.  After I globbed out a half a bottle of glue to reestablish the fallen pillars I blew furiously in an attempt to blow dry them before they arrived at the school.

The one pillar in the back kept falling over while I was driving so at every stop sign or light I was putting it back upright and blowing some more.  Any one watching me likely thought me to be completely mad.  When I delivered the masterpiece to the school office the problem corner pillar was upright at least for that moment.  I suspected that the second I turned on my heel to leave the breeze I created knocked the pillar down again.

I thought about the masterpiece all day.  I was dreading the moment when Cheyenne was able to register her complaints directly to me about the damage I had done to her work (be it inadvertent or not – it happened under my watch – GULP).

Given the height of my trepidation I was a bit surprised when Cheyenne got in the car and said nothing.  One block…two blocks…three blocks and still nothing.  I couldn’t take it – I cracked!  I started babbling something about how sorry I was, how it was an accident and how I had used almost a half jar of glue trying to fix the columns.  After I had expended the last ounce of air in my body with my pitiful blathering confession, Cheyenne said nonchalantly – “That’s okay…Mrs. Stafslien said it can just be an example of Roman ruins.”

What??  Huh??  Roman ruins??

Wait I see it now…I see what Mrs. Stafslien did…she changed the way she looked at things and the things she looked at changed.  She didn’t see a damaged masterpiece she saw a project that recreated the ruins of Rome.

I share this story as a reminder to myself of the power in perception.  Mrs. Stafslien saw something I did not because she looked at the masterpiece differently.  I often tell my students when dealing with challenges to change the way they look at things and they will discover that the things they look at will change.

I have been a tad unhappy about sump pump failure round two (and “tad unhappy” may be a bit of an understatement) and I have bemoaning my plight.  Yet, I have a home that is insured and that has damage that can be fixed.  I didn’t lose any old photos or priceless heirlooms and no one was injured in the process.  I am a lucky duck and this sump pump failure chapter in my life – well, it’s just that – a chapter in an encyclopedia-sized book.  It’s Roman ruins…not a damaged masterpiece…thank you Mrs. Stafslien for the reminder. ;-)

Day six hundred and fifty-two of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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About Ms. C

I teach at NDSU...but I remain a student of life with all the enthusiasm that entails. My favorite saying is, "Sometimes you have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down." In the new forty that is what I am doing...building my wings.
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2 Responses to The ruin of Rome…

  1. Good teacher — she made lemonade! (and a quick thinker!)

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