Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Was she a middle school teacher?

"Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people."
Eleanor Roosevelt


HaynesBE said...

And really great minds discuss events in term of ideas.

Few of those are to be found in middle school.

Lynne said...

You are quite right in the first case, and sadly in the second in that there are too few middle schools run by great minds. But there are some.

I was more referring to the fact that both of my daughters, sometime during their middle school years, needed to be reminded of the bad medicine associated with the third.

HaynesBE said...

Oh yes....the first thought that went through my mind from your title was my daughter as well. Not so my son. Vive la difference!

Kelly Elmore said...

Do you really believe this? I find people and the way they live and behave and the things they say and do endlessly interesting. I love to talk about them and try to figure out what makes them tick. I think it is non-judgmental Christianity that made it wrong to talk about people. If you don't mind judging, what could be wrong with it?

Lynne said...

You bring up an excellent point, Kelly, and one I wasn't going to differentiate here, but judging people and their actions is ESSENTIAL to your well-being.

I like this quotation as it applies to talking about people in an attempt to gain social approval with peers. I'm guessing this behavior is related to a self-esteem issue. I'm trying to work through exactly what it means to my daughter who seems to be taking on a new personality directed by peer approval.


HaynesBE said...

I would agree that talking about people has its place--and perhaps even more so in junior high when you are trying so hard to figure out yourself and relationships. "Talking about people" can occur on so many levels--and the appropriateness varies, among other things, with developmental stage. One way to learn who you are is to try on different personalities or selves and see which one fits...just like we try on different outfits when shopping in order to know which one best matches our self-concept, values, aesthetic style and bank account. Sometimes you just can't tell how you will feel about it until you actually try it on. So I end up being more curious about what is going on in my daughter's head, helping her clarify her own thoughts about things--rather than worrying she is caving to peer pressure. She's the one who will have to sort it all out for herself after all.

Like many short quips, this one by Eleanor doesn't capture all the subtleties. Here's how I interpret this quote.

This set of three captures 3 major stances toward reality (idealism, pragmatism or experientialism, and social-metaphysics) by listing their center of focus (ideas, concrete events and people.) None of those is the best way to approach reality. I added "events in terms of ideas" (which also could have been "ideas in terms of events") in order to point the focus toward philosophical realism and objectivity.

Perhaps I am reading too much into it all---but these little exercises can sometimes help me clarify my thinking--and in a geeky way, I find it fun.

Open to your thoughts.

Lynne said...

I agree with all the wonderfully geeky things you’ve said, Beth, and I still think that as a pithy quote, it encapsulates a decent idea.

Right now I have to be able to articulate my frustration with a bigger situation, of which this is a small part, to myself and then make a plan of action.