Sunday, 6 September 2015

On Thinking in 3D

Picture of house in 3D wearing mortar board and shoes surrounded by question marks

In a momentous and heart-wrenching European news week, it was back to the usual school routine in our household. As explained in an earlier blog, school has never been my younger son's favourite place. I was delighted to see his smiley, confident return on Friday afternoon. What a difference a change in perspective can make.

James returned from school with a small drawing. A familiar scene in many homes no doubt. He showed me the drawing with pride. After explaining, he pinned it with a magnet to our fridge as so many times before in his primary school days.

The new Physics teacher had asked the class to draw a picture of a house. Then he awarded points for different characteristics in the drawings. James got high marks. Why? Because he drew a house in 3D, while many classmates drew conventional, 2-dimensional houses.

He regretted missing out on a few marks, because he didn't put the door off-centre. Good point. Doors, opportunities and solutions in life aren't generally to be found dead in the centre. Project plan and project experience often run slightly off course.

The house drawing also boasts lots of windows to look out of or to let in lots of light, depending on your perspective.

There is even a skylight to look up at the sky and stars.

Smokes rises from the chimney. This is a warm house with a fireside to huddle around in the cold depths of winter.

There is a large garden with a low fence. (Well, honestly, what would you expect from the son of a keen gardener?) The grass is depicted with meticulous strokes of green. Details matter.

That little drawing can stay on our fridge all year. I am very proud of my son. I am grateful to the inspirational Physics teacher who asked for something a little different. He showed James that his different perspective has value.

Our little family tale seems particularly relevant this week. We have seen ordinary people show warm, out-of-the box thinking towards refugees, in contrast to rigid, flat 2-dimensional thinking from wealthy, highly educated politicians.

People aren't numbers or quotas. Every individual has value.

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