Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Whack on the Side of the Head Wednesday: The Lost Day

Announcements at the end.

It's been a few weeks since we've delved into a Whack on the Side of the Head Wednesday.  Our last whack was an attempt to improve my strategy for gathering 100 inspiring teacher stories for 100 unsuspecting teachers around the country.  I dare say, with still only 15 stories in hand, that neither my strategy nor your creative suggestions will be winning highlowaha any awards.

A short commercial break...  IT'S NOT TOO LATE!  Low pay coupled with countless hours of work preparing lesson plans, grading papers, and responding to parents, makes teachers worth the fifteen minutes it will take you to share your story.  Ten to fifteen lines about your teacher of note is all we need.  Stories will be packaged with a box of Crayola Markers and mailed as Random Acts of Kindness to teachers around the country. 

And, if that isn't enough... submit yours before August 29 and be in a drawing to win the beautiful, hand crafted Back to School Tablecloth featured in yesterday's blog entry.  Those of you mailing your paragraphs should aim to have your letter postmarked today, Wednesday, August 26.  Paragraphs (along with $5.00 for packaging, postage, and markers) can be sent to: Claudia K. Beeny, 4012 Harvestwood Court, Grapevine, Texas, 76051.

Moving on.

I sense we have enough new readers/lurkers that I am going to do a quick recap of the idea behind Whack on the Side of the Head Wednesday.  The idea... improve an idea by forcing yourself to think creatively.  But... if thinking creatively was easy, companies wouldn't have to pay consultants for creative solutions to old problems, people wouldn't complain of boredom, and the idea of rut wouldn't exist.  Truth... thinking creatively sometimes requires an outside force to, as my son would say, ..."shake things up."  We rely on von Oech and his Creative Whack Pack for this.  Each of the cards in von Oech's Whack Pack contains a different principle and when the principle is applied, in theory, our idea ought to be better than when it started.  Problem solved.  Here we go, giving it a whirl.

The story behind what we will be whacking today is funny and compliments of a woman many of us know and love... Cheryl.  

So, here I am repeatedly talking about the importance of the number #218 to our blog community.  We've had contests where #218 was incorporated into the answer; we're troop #218 for goodness sakes; and in less than a month I am going to introduce a new ritual... based on the #18.  Let's face it... #218 is here to stay.

The problem.  Soon after we introduced Patchwork (highlowaha jeans used to showcase all the cool patches earned by participating in fun activities), Cheryl emailed me to say... "How do I tell you this?  Your first blog entry was on February 19 not the 18th."  

WHAT?  Big gulp on my part.  Are you kidding me?  Countless number of initiatives, contests, stunts, etc... are based on the my first entry being posted on February 18 and all at once - in one fell swoop - Cheryl drops a bomb on me.

Thank goodness!

Quick re-frame on my part.  I have options.  Pretend I didn't get the email and just keep plugging along in my own little world of denial.  Acknowledge the email, but threaten Cheryl with something awful if she dares to tell a soul.  Fess up to my mistake and just move on.  Or... creatively problem solve my way out of the dilemma.  I like option number four.

My wheels started working fast.  How about a lost day?  That's it.  Highlowaha will have a lost day to recover the February 18 post that never happened.  Perfect.  And, it's leap year to boot.  Somehow that HAS to work to our advantage.  This year there actually is an extra day... an extra one to spare.  Perfect.  But here's the big question.  The question so much fun to think about and so irresistible, I almost have to share it with you.

What do you do with a lost day?  Is this a day we get to do everything we wish we could have done, but didn't have time for.  Or, is this the day we do nothing.  Or, is this the day we repeat everything we did on Monday, February 18?  Or, is the lost day the day a day of mystery?  So many possibilities.

That's the thing that needs some whacking today.  What should highlowaha do to recover and celebrate the lost day - February 18, 2008?  Here's what von Oech has to say...

Let Your Mind Wander.  Much of our thinking is associative: one idea makes you think of another - no matter how logical the connection.  Use this ability to generate new ideas.  Look at something, and make associations based on whatever  you can think of: function, location, size, shape, sound, personal, opposite, weird, etc.  Example - work: play: actor: star: sun: light: bulb: tulips: kiss: love: tennis: net: profit: prophet: oracle: auricle: heart: life.  What things does your idea remind you of?  What do each of these remind you of?  How can you use this cluster of associations to develop your idea?

I'll play this associative game, but I'm more interested in what all of YOU have to say!  Help me.  Help me turn this bitter lemon into lemonade.  Look around the room you're in.  Spot something and then play the associative game.  how can you use your cluster of associations to help me develop great ideas for how highlowaha can use our lost day?

Some announcements and then you can get busy...

  • Make Your Mark:  I received three paragraphs from Julie yesterday, boosting our count to 15 inspiring stories.  Eighty-five more to go.  The deadline is Friday, August 29.
  • Helping Hand: Click on the Helping Hand link at the top right hand of my blog.  Our service project coordinators are looking for input on families in our communities who ought to be considered as recipients of our generous initiative.  Don't fail us now.  Consult with your church, a local organization, or people in your work place.  Submit a name by before the week is over.
  • Countdown to the Super Bowl:  Still seeking four competitors.  My husband - chef extraordinaire - claimed one of the fourteen available spots.  Cassie, Montana, AZLori?  Who else?  We need four more people up for the challenge.
  • Taste of USA:  Ten days until our Taste of USA participants meet in Philly.  Our list of participants, to date, consists of: Cheryl, Amy, Tera, Treye, Julie, Katie, Nicole, Kristen, Heidi, and Jayme.  We're still waiting for definitive answers from Brian and Maureen.  For the purposes of planning, we will set Monday, September 1 as the last day to RSVP.  The sooner we know the better.  
Signing off until tomorrow...

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