Thursday, June 4, 2009

Less is sometimes more…

by Guest Blogger Rebecca Messmann of

I just finished writing an article for our hometown newspaper discussing the craze of “less” in our society. We have several examples of “things” that jump out at us insisting less is more: The Twitter 140 characters or less to describe your day or your moment. The book “Not what I was planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure,” that asks us to describe our lives in just six words. Cell phone texting that eliminates vowels and punctuation and gets the message across in the least amount of words as possible on the smallest contraption that is still readable.
Yep, we are being inundated with messages that tell us less is more and often I advocate that this is crazy, that we are teaching our children to stifle themselves. We are limiting their potential, limiting their creativity, and on and on. I can really get on a soap box about it.
Then, as always, there is something that brings me back down to earth and reminds me that sometimes less really is more. That is what has happened with the whole left and right thing at our house.
When my oldest son was a baby I kept a running monologue of what we were doing. “Ok, Baby, we are going to the kitchen, we go down this hall and turn left into the kitchen.” As he got older I would point out the horses on our left and the cows on our right (we lived in Texas, after all). Now, I give him directions; turn right at Nicole’s house, left at the school to get home. Then one day I asked him which is left and he raised his right hand.
Frustration, anger, more frustration, it is a simple thing is it not to tell your left from your right? It is the foundation for getting yourself anywhere, for reading a book, for driving a car, it is the foundation for goodness sake and no matter what I do, how much more I do neither of my boys can consistently show you left or right correctly.
I have tried; honestly, I have tried everything under the sun to teach them left from right. Then the other day I noticed that other kids were wearing these really cool looking bracelets. I had my own private “Eureka” moment – I bought two bracelets and placed them on each boy’s left wrist. Bingo! Problem solved with the least amount effort. Ask my boys which is left and which is right now. Go ahead, I dare you.
Don’t be afraid to use a simple, less complicated method to get our dyslexic kids to learn – sometimes less really is more.

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