We’ve all heard the saying, “Seeing the world through rose colored glasses.” Little do we know, children are looking at their world through all sorts of different colored lenses.
During a lesson with my 2nd graders, we discussed how certain feelings will make us see things differently. They will make us look at the world, the problem, the situation, and our friends differently. The lesson helped us recognize these lenses and how we can fix our lenses to see things clearly.
Character Trait: Optimism
Character Skills: Communication Skills, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Self-Confidence Development
We see the world through 4 different lenses. Each is connected to a feeling and makes us think and see things in a different way.
This lens makes you think, “How can they do that to me? It’s NOT fair!!!!”
Denying and Blaming Lens
Here you are thinking, “It wasn’t my fault! He made me do it!!!”
This lens makes you feel like you aren’t good enough. It makes you think, “I’m not good at anything. I can’t do anything right!”
This is the lens that saves us. This lens helps us keep an open mind and encourages us to keep striving for better. It says, “I’m a good person. Sometimes we make mistakes, but it’s okay!”
With my 2nd grade class, we discussed each lens. We demonstrated examples of when we might use that type of thinking.
Next, I gave the class a situation . . . a conflict. Then I assigned certain boys to think in a certain way. Some had to think with their angry lens, others with the blaming lens, the sad lens, or the clear lens. Each boy gave an example of what that person would say about the situation given their specific way of thinking.
My 6 situations were as follows:
- You are sitting alone on the playground with no one to play with
Angry Lens – No one will include me in their game! This is unfair!
Denying and Blaming Lens – They always leave me out!
Sad Lens – I guess no one likes me enough to invite me to play.
Clear Lens – I don’t really like sitting here alone. I think I’ll go over and join a game.
- You aren’t listening in class, so you aren’t able to answer the teacher’s question.
Angry Lens – The teacher always calls on me when I’m not ready!
Denying and Blaming Lens – If Johnny wasn’t distracting me, I could have listened.
Sad Lens – I got the question wrong and now everyone probably thinks I’m stupid.
Clear Lens – Wow, I really wasn’t ready for that question. I better listen closer next time.
- You want to win in a game so badly that you end up cheating.
Angry Lens – If they would just play by my rules then I wouldn’t have to cheat!
Denying and Blaming Lens – They are always cheating, too!
Sad Lens – I never get to win. I have the worst luck.
Clear Lens – I really upset my friends by cheating.
- You hurt a friend’s feelings on purpose.
Angry Lens – He really deserved it for making me so upset.
Denying and Blaming Lens – He pushed me first, so I just did it back to him.
Sad Lens – I’m always the one getting into trouble. No one else gets into any trouble.
Clear Lens – Even if I’m feeling mad or upset, I can’t take it out on someone else. I wasn’t treating them fairly.
- You interrupt the teacher instead of raising your hand.
Angry Lens – Why doesn’t the teacher ever call on me? I think she’s ignoring me.
Denying and Blaming Lens – James always answers all the questions!
Sad Lens – Even when I do answer the question I get in trouble. I can’t do anything right.
Clear Lens – I remember I am supposed to raise my hand to talk. Sometimes it’s hard to remember. I’ll try again next time.
As advanced as some of this thinking is, my 2nd graders came up with these responses (most of them) without any prompting. They are also little actors, which really helps the situation, but still they really enjoyed playing all sides of the lenses.
Although this is a lesson built for 8 year olds, it is a good reminder for our adult selves to see things clearly. Not to be too quick to respond in anger, or sadness, or blame.