Recently I stumbled upon a short story titled Plate of Peas. Click here to read the story by Rick Beyer.
The story is about a boy who thinks he is being clever and tries to outsmart his grandma. He then paints himself into a corner.
When I read this story, the idea that to my mind is CREATIVE MANIPULATION.
I use this concept all the time with students. I will set up writing assignments so that they have ideas and intent which leads to them NOT saying to me: I don’t know what to write!
Have you ever done something that backfired? Or at least resulted in an action you weren’t expecting?
I was in a classroom last week and asked a student to stop drumming on the desk. Many of my students make this “music” almost without thinking. I laughed and told him I was going to tap on his desk each time he did it if he didn’t stop.
A few minutes later he did and another student said, “Are you going to tap his desk?” He asked the question in quite a delighted tone. So of course, being true to my word, I did.
Then it became a game of how many students could get my special attention. We laughed and we moved on quickly. But, I had painted myself into a corner underestimating the appeal of special joking attention from an adult.
There is a lot to unpack from Rick Beyer’s story. The legacy of the peas is a concept that has stayed with me since I read the story. The concept of family and dinners and grandmothers. There is a routine that is established and the close relationship between the author and his grandma is clear.
The story packs quite a punch for how short it is.
My favorite line is:
“You ate them for money,” she says. “You can eat them for love.”
If you read my blog, you know that I have many memories of food and my Oma (German grandmother). This story, of course, reminds me of her.
Our motivation for our actions can be complicated.
When in your life does creative manipulation play a role?