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Monday, September 28, 2015

What Are We Complaining About?
I had a student say to me today, "Ugh...I hate Mondays!"  I responded with, "Well, I'm sorry to hear that.  You know, it does happen every seven days, which means, if you hate one out of every seven days then you're going to end up hating 1/7 of your life.  In 70 years time you'll have hated 10 of those years.  Are Mondays really that bad??"  This student had that puzzled look on their face like, "Why did he just tell me all of that?  All I said was that I hated Mondays."

I get that a lot.  

I spent this week trying to tune in to all levels of negativity to see what it is I hear people complaining about.  I knew what this week's post was going to be so I was planning ahead.  The things I heard people complain about were the following:

-No cell phone service
-Not having football practice cancelled because of the rain
-Slow Internet connection at work
-A deep sigh when the stoplight turned yellow (that one was mine)
-Having to wait in line at the ATM
-Being out of coffee creamer (also mine)
-Getting tasks to do in school
-Being too full
-Having to take the stairs
-Filling out a form
-Replacing the batteries on the garage door opener (...again...mine)
-Having to fill out a bathroom pass
-Not being able to decide what to eat
-Having too many choices at the bakery

I once had someone tell me that if you look for the negative in life, you'll find it.  As I kept adding to the list throughout the week it dawned on me that there really isn't that much to complain about if you've got access to fresh water, air conditioning, a steady source of food, and a safe, stable environment to live in.  

Let's face it, if you're reading this, you've got some access to an electronic device with internet capabilities and you're probably not too far from a source of fresh water.  That right there puts you at a HUGE advantage over most people in the world to live a healthy life.  

Do kids in America know what it is like in other parts of the world?  Do they know what the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) lets them know about the overall health of a country?  Do they know what the literacy rate means in regard to the quality of education in a country?  Do they know how much the average person makes in a year in the USA versus in a third world country?  Maybe if they did, the little things they complain about during the day might not seem so drastic.  

I love teaching about the difference between first and third world countries.  The ease of the CIA World Factbook is so useful for students to find out information about countries.  Just imagine how much more they would be aware of if they knew what the terminology on this site means.  They'll also have a better idea what the statistics next to the terminology means too, and be even more knowledgeable when learning about the world. 

I've used the product below for years and years in my social studies classroom when learning about the geography of the world.  Give it a try and see what your students think - I'd love to hear how it went!

Will this stop students from complaining about the little things in life?  Probably not, but maybe this activity will help make 10 of the next 70 years of their lives not seem as bad on Mondays.  It has helped how I fell about my Mondays immensely.  

Especially when I have creamer for my coffee.

Until next Monday!

1 comment:

  1. Great photo that really exemplifies the disparity between economically-advantaged and disadvantaged countries. You're right -- we in the U.S. really have little complain about.'s all relative, right? I also want to second how great a resource the CIA World Factbook is -- it's an excellent reference and I use it all the time.

    -- Susan
    The ESL Connection