Learning this Stuff: Put ’em Up!

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A couple of days ago I got a note from a friend letting me in on her delight at sharing with her son the posters I have put on my website.  Probably half a dozen times I have heard from people who used this method of learning the “wisdom” that I am passing on to you all.

My first memory was of a Jewish couple who was celebrating a feast day and had invited all their kids.  The general meetings were in a warm kitchen, around the table.  However, on the walls and on the refrigerator they had put up many of the posters I had shared with them.  Apparently, the main topic of the family get-together became the posters, and "who needed to learn and remember what."  Daughters reminded mothers, fathers pointed out to sons, etc.  I gathered that many copies went home with the extended family.

Another story came to me from a friend.  He had put up posters all over his bedroom walls, to try to remind him of new approaches to familiar, but difficult, situations.  His parents came to visit him.  His mom is a student of Christian Theology.  He told me that she quietly went around his room, looking thoughtfully at each sign – “like someone walking around a museum looking a works of art.”  Finally, after asking where he had gotten these things, she stated, “These are deeply Christian.  They are good.”  In addition, I gather, quite a discussion began between them and continues.

Here’s the note I got a couple of days ago. 

“I forgot to tell you something. This is super fun! I told my son about the posters I printed from your website.  They were lying on my bed. A couple days later, he came in and asked if he could look at them.  "Sure" I said.  I let him look first without saying anything, then I got close to him, and he started talking. We had a great time together discussing about some of them, and to hear us picking some of the poster and say "Oh, I need that one.”  "Ah, this one is for you.”  "Hum, I could use this one too.”  We had a wonderful laugh together. My god, he understood so much of it, and I took that special opportunity to tell him how intelligent he is and how amazed I am that he figures it out, when a lot of adults like me are still trying to figure out the majority of all their meaning. It was a memorable time together!”

Last night a friend said he had some of my posters on his desk.  I suggested to him, and suggest to you all, put them up very visibly and share them with other people.  Let them be a topic of dialogue. 

What I think is happening is this.  Each of us has, in our heads, a series of posters, beliefs, principles.  Some of these inner posters are pretty good.  Some are wrong, or useless, or harmful, or “bullshit.”  Part of our job of learning is to remove these “bad inner posters,” and to replace them with new ones, which we believe are right, useful, helpful, and nurturing.   Therefore, we decorate our “outer walls” with the new posters.  Now, I think this is all to the good, but even better is to interact with others about these posters.  After all, the difference between outer-wall-posters and inner-wall-posters is that we have moved them inside our personal boundaries, into the garden inside our “castle.”  That happens more effectively when others are involved. 

One guy this week said, “I finally really got into my head the idea that ‘All people make sense all the time’, when my father saw the sign in my kitchen and attacked it as ‘crazy!’  Seeing dad’s anger sold me on its truth. Thanks, Dad.”

If you have any success stories sharing this wisdom, please share with me and us.

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