Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Habits of the Mind

Habits of the Mind can be non-cognitive skills that young people need to develop if they are to grow up to be effective and successful as adults.  Habits of the Mind provide a foundation for the Common Core and can be developed by all youth.  Just like you need to exercise to strengthen your physical muscles, you need to exercise your “habits of the mind muscles” for them to become strong.  Thinking critically is bolstered by being able to apply different combinations of these habits so you can ensure success.
This month we would like to take a look at one of the sixteen identified habits:  finding humor.  Finding humor has been described in this way: “Laugh a little!  Find the whimsical, incongruous and unexpected.  Be able to laugh at yourself.” 
There are two sayings about humor that speak in opposites:  “Sometimes we laugh to keep from crying, sometimes we smile to keep from frowning.”  Whether we smile or laugh, finding the humor in situations we are in is often a necessary part of moving on.  We take ourselves so seriously that making a mistake seems unforgivable.  We chastise ourselves for not having anticipated what would happen, or being prepared to handle every situation perfectly.  When each of us can find the humor in situations, and each can laugh at him/herself, we give ourselves permission to be human, to be fallible.  We must know full well that making an error in judgment or a mistake is not unpardonable, because as we know this as adults, we give permission to the youth we work with to make mistakes as well.  Humor is a great stress reliever and while sometimes we laugh to keep from crying, we can also laugh until we cry.  Either way, finding the humor in situations is a key to building and maintaining the ability to persevere, even when things look the darkest.

In what ways do you find humor in your daily work with youth?  What makes you laugh and not take yourself so seriously?  Share your humorous experiences with us so we can share them with others.  Truly, laughter can be the best medicine. You can reach us at

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