Walking Stick Blogger

A Learning Space for Literacy and English Language Learners

The cone

Tigger, my pet, you are in discomfort.

How I hated to have decided to have others place a cone on you. It will only be a few days, I promise. It is meant to protect you, to restrict your movement so you don’t bite at your wounds. I know it restricts you from eating freely, from cleaning yourself, and from sleeping comfortably. I catch glimpses of your frustration, your eyes filled with pleading and anger, the thrashing of your tail,

Though I want to laugh, heaven forbid, I want to comfort you as best I can, and give in and tear that cone off you when you go into panic mode, twisting your head back and forth in distress, moving around backwards and sideways. I steel myself with resolve when I hear your meows as you struggle to eat and drink out of the bowls.

It has got me thinking how we all wear our own cones, metaphorically, often placed there for our own good by well-meaning others, to serve a higher good, and protect us from ourselves. But then we get used to the twisting and turning of our souls to accommodate the cones that bind us. I think of how the cones in our lives restrict us, hinder us, and though we get by, not quite free, we live in a state of anxiety, tolerating a difficult situation or state of mind the cone requires of us. Without the cone, we grow to believe, we might be doing things that damage us, so we live uncomfortably with the cone on, and come to accept it, to get used to it, and then never bother to take it off.  We forget about it, until we see the cones of others.

How funny the cones of others look to me! How blatantly obvious they restrict and bind and hold back these persons? Can they not open their eyes and just see? What the heck is wrong with them? I ask myself.

It gets me thinking further about how I place cones on my students, asking them to restrict their ideas and thoughts to accomplish a task not of their choosing, to finish an assignment bereft of personal meaning, to study facts and rules by rote. How much of what I teach my students a kind of cone that limits their perceptions, funnels certain ideas, and thereby blocking out others?

Tigger, my pet, the cone will be off soon, and you will be free once again to be the cat you are.

I wish I could say the same of my students.

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netizenship • August 14, 2011

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