Time to Think
From the Koemba Book Club:

Time to Think

This book has key insights and tools into what’s needed to help our children and ourselves to ‘think clearly’. In this book you’ll discover the ten key components on how to create a Listening Environment, whether you’re thinking about home, work or any other situation. The value of this in creating happier, healthier environments, both at home and even globally, cannot be overestimated.

 

Comments
  • On Val Mullally wrote:

    RE ‘Feelings’ – I really like your analogy re a ‘roadblock’, thanks Marie.

  • On Val Mullally wrote:

    CH 10 ‘INFORMATION, SOMETIMES’ THIS CHAPTER SEEMS TO HAVE 2 SEPARATE AND DISTINCT PARTS. FIRST SECTION: RE GIVING OR CLARIFYING INFORMATION. SECOND PART: FROM BOTTOM P. 82 RE ‘DENIAL’ (WHICH TO ME HAS TO DO WITH AUTHENTICITY. SOME INCISIVE COACHING QUESTIONS HERE – WORTH WRITING OUT AND TRYING OUT. WHAT IMPACTS YOU FROM THIS CHAPTER?

  • On Marie Reilly wrote:

    Chapter 10 Information, sometimes- Timing is key here. It’s important to remind ourselves of the need to stay on your child or client’s side of the bridge. If you provide information when it is not required, you make the process about you and could very likely break the Thinking Process. We looked at the notion of ‘interruption’ in chapter 3 but I think it is insightful of Kline to remind us that “..interruption is an assault on the thinking process” (p79). As a parent I have a tendency to interrupt and correct my kids if they are describing something where I know there are factual errors. Instead, according to Kline, I should ask myself “when and how”(p80) it’s best to make corrections or provide information so that my child can keep on their thinking journey. A useful quote is as follow: “supply information only when you are sure that it will make a decisive difference in the direction, content or progress of the person’s thinking” (p80). This in itself will be a monumental challenge. Similarly a request for information can have a “jarring deflection of attention onto me” (p82). The second part of this chapter deals with the “piercing of denial” (p82). Kline says denial “is dangerous because thinking works best in the presence of reality”(p83). She provides some very powerful questions e.g. “what is in my face that I am not facing?” (p83). She also outlines what she calls the “Amy question; what do you already know that you are going to find out in a year?” (p83). These are some very useful questions for our toolboxes.

  • On Val Mullally wrote:

    Hello Ladies Hope you’re going to soon be joining Marie – so she doesn’t feel ‘solo’. Thx for your thoughtful feedback on chapter 10, Marie. CHAPTER 11 ‘PLACE’ :THEY SAY THE REAL LEARNING IS WHAT YOU REMEMBER AFTER YOU’VE FORGOTTEN WHAT YOU LEARNT. WELL – THIS VERY SHORT CHAPTER IS WHAT STAYED INDELIBLY WITH ME AFTER MY FIRST READING OF THIS BOOK A FEW YEARS BACK. WHAT STRIKES YOU IN THIS CHAPTER? AND WHAT DO YOU CHOOSE TO DO ABOUT THAT AWARENESS?

  • On Val Mullally wrote:

    I GUESS EVERYONE BUSY WITH PREPARATION FOR SCHOOL? HERE’S THE NEXT: CH 12: DIVERSITY. THIS IS SUCH A THOUGHT –PROVOKING CHAPTER, ESPECIALLY THE LIST ON P.91. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS/ OBSERVATIONS?

  • On Lupu Anca wrote:

    Ch. 8 – Encouragement
    As you, Val, I immediately thought of school systems and the way they encourage competition. I think we are all competitive, some more than others…. in all areas of life. Competition “alerts” the inner you to get started, to think of alternative ways, to let your creativity flow…
    Now coming back to “ease”, I think competition helps as long as it has no time pressure. I find myself stimulated by competition as long as there is no time pressure (awareness discovered recently by reading this book). When I feel the pressure, my creativity is gone…
    I think the competition needs to be encouraged in a “positive” way. For example in class, the teacher could say something like “let’s see what ideas do you have about global warming?? or saving the planet??” Then something like “How would you go around it?” These questions stimulate the thinking rather than the competition…

  • On Lupu Anca wrote:

    Chapter 9 – Feelings
    We have debated this issue in class a couple of times as Marie mentioned: “To cry or not to cry….this is the question?!” 🙂
    This is such a complex subject because we all experience feelings and process them in our unique way!
    Reading this chapter reminded me about the “emotional intelligence” defined shortly as the ability to manage your feelings in a positive/constructive way.
    Every word in this chapter is a reinforcement that “people need to express their feelings in order to think clearly!” But my question is the same as the author’s: “If it is so simple, why are we afraid to do it???”. Because crying, for example, was/is considered a sign of weakness and if you want to be a strong person you can’t be seen as displaying your emotions every step of the way…. I ask the 5 year old question again: “But why?”; where did we get this idea from; an idea that was/is circulated for years at home, in school, in the park, in the media etc….
    I also think that because we are under pressure for time to do everything like robots even crying became unexpectable; I heard someone saying that “I don’t have time for crying, crying is for the children…”. But do we encourage our children to do that??
    Expressing feelings is part of an awareness of mine a few years back that although it constituted a big part of the way I experienced things, I saw it as a weakness not as a strength!! Following that awareness everything changed in the way I “re-acted” to the world around me.

  • On Lupu Anca wrote:

    Ch. 10 – Information
    I like the title “Information” then coma then “sometimes”…. because as author describes in this chapter giving information is not always what people need. People need spaces to think. sometimes I hear the words “Thinking board” or “sounding board” when not sure with themselves and this is what needs to be encouraged more often. I particularly liked the example in the book when Claire doesn’t stop Sam is his expression of worry although she had more information that could stop his worries. How many of us do that? 🙂 I would jump and say I don’t. It is interesting though to stop giving the information already known and pay more attention to the person in front of you… Cannot wait to try it!
    I found the questions in the “denial” part very powerful because they “force” the reality check to come out.
    I am on a mission to answer the Amy question as I am at the start of a new journey and I thought it would clarify some “cloudy” parts.

  • On Lupu Anca wrote:

    Ch. 11 – Place
    To be honest I was a bit challenged by this chapter… So the way a place is “designed” makes you feel welcome; that you “matter”, the layout, the furniture, plants, light etc…
    I had the awareness just now as I was thinking about this…. Initially I thought that other people have to design their places to make everybody welcome and that they matter. In my head the question popped out: “how do you do that without assuming what people think/feel???”
    Now I know! 🙂 If I “arrange” the place in such a way that it “shouts” at me “you do matter!!”; this feel will be automatically passed to others; it’s as if you are saying to somebody “I matter therefore you do matter as well!!”

  • On Lupu Anca wrote:

    Ch. 12 – Diversity
    I found the “Sexism” sub-chapter very interesting. Although I have read articles about this before I liked the comparison list (Thinking environment vs Male Conditioning). Looking at the lists I automatically think of people in those categories; the examples are the other way around (a male for thinking environment and a woman for male conditioning model)… Sometimes I wonder who was their model/s in life?
    We all know that parents are the main educators in their children’s lives; of course everything that they see and feel also contributes to their formation; the media is another big factor but I believe that it comes back to the parents. The children will define their values later on in life although they are shaped very early even if they are not aware of that there and then. The experiences they have in their childhood, what sticks with them, what matters to them are things/values/beliefs instilled by parents (whether they know this or not). Of course we can’t control what they believe in but we can control what we,as parents, believe in, what is important to us, how we respond to the surrounding world.

  • On Val Mullally wrote:

    ch 13 CONGRATS, ANCA,ON YOUR BIG ‘CATCH UP’! THIS VERY SHORT CHAPTER SAYS NOTHING SPECIFIC ABOUT CHILDREN BUT THE TOPIC IS VERY PERTINENT. WHAT ARE THE QUESTIONS (AND ANSWERS!) THAT COME INTO YOUR MIND RE CHILDREN / SOLITUDE? ONE OF MINE IS: WHAT ARE YOUR CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF ‘HAPPY SOLITUDE’? FOLLOWED BY: ‘WHAT DOES THIS SAY TO YOU AS PARENT?’

  • On Marie Reilly wrote:

    Chapter 11 Place: Kline asks “what would you have to change about your…home for it to say back to you ‘you matter’?” (p86). My immediate response is “declutter”. My home is currently in need of a big decluttering after the summer holidays. I have heard it said that one shouldn’t work/study and sleep in the same space. I believe the thinking behind this is that in order to have a rewarding sleep, the environment around you should be calm and clutter free. The same theory can be applied to thinking. In order to think clearly, we need to ‘park’ all distractions, opinions etc. Nonetheless, I’d like to think that whether my house is tidy or not, the people who come here “matter”! Perhaps a better title for this chapter would be “space” rather than “place”. This is because I believe that no matter what place you find yourself in, there should always be a space conducive to thinking.

  • On Lupu Anca wrote:

    Ch. 13 – Solitude
    I have highlighted “Solitude is a human requirement”. Sometimes we need this solitude to think clearly (I do!), to have a conversation with myself, to reinforce things/values/beliefs, to argue over pros and cons of an idea etc…
    For children this solitude is also needed… Often schools use “the thinking time”, when a child is left to think about a certain behaviour. This can also be used at home with our children. Creating a time where the child/adolescent could think over a future plan or a strategy on progression route for education or performance or sports could be beneficial and leaving the child/adolescent confident about himself and the decisions he takes.

  • On Marie Reilly wrote:

    Chapter 12 Diversity: when I think of diversity I think of different nationalities, cultures, religions. However, differences between genders is not one that automatically springs to mind so I think Kline’s emphasis on sexism and the thinking environment is an interesting take on the subject. She says ‘male conditioning ravages young lives in front of our eyes’ (p94). That quote reminds me of one by Steve Biddulph in his book ‘Raising Boys’. He says that a boy in the six to fourteen age group has to download the software from an available male to complete his development’ (p17). What can we do to turn the tide on this ‘male conditioning’ and similar female conditioning? I agree with Anca that the values we instil in our kids are so important. I’d take that a step forward and say that our schools also have a crucial role to play. My six and four year olds attend an Educate Together School. The Educate Together ethos which specifically states “no child is an outsider” embraces diversity and is rooted in four core principles: multi-denominational; co-educational; child-centred; and democratically run. I like Kline’s idea that society needs the ‘best of both women’s and men’s cultures’ (p95). She goes on to say that would mean ‘people will be confident and humble, outspoken and quiet, logical and spontaneous, decisive and flexible, and always inclusive and respectful’ (p95). If my guidance as a parent could achieve anything in the above list, I’d like it to be that my kids are ‘always inclusive and respectful’.

  • On Marie Reilly wrote:

    Chapter 13 What about Solitude? I like the quote that ‘solitude and attention are different routes to good thinking. We need them both'(p97). Taking time out to think is very beneficial at any age. The term ‘Timeout’ in my home is used generally when anyone of us feels a ‘flip the lid’ episode has arisen or is about to arise. However there is no reason why this concept cannot to expanded to include taking an opportunity to think or get away from the bustle of life for even five minutes and recharge batteries. If someone has something specific they need to mull over and don’t need distractions, they need to park ‘the laneless traffic of other issues in our brains that screech for our attention’ (p97). I plan to put this concept to the test the next time I need to think clearly about something. I also plan to encourage the kids to do the same.

  • On Val Mullally wrote:

    Part TWO. Chapters 14 & 15 WHOOPS – I READ THESE CHAPTERS A FEW DAYS AGO & DIDN’T REALIZE I HADN’T POSTED, SORRY. RE ‘THE THINKING TEAM’ – OF COURSE A FAMILY IS A TEAM TOO. OBVIOUSLY THE AMOUNT OF STRUCTURE SUGGESTED HERE WOULDN’T ALWAYS WORK FOR EVERY FAMILY. WHAT ARE YOUR AWARENESSES AND CHALLENGES?

  • On Marie Reilly wrote:

    Chapter 14 The Thinking Team – this chapter acts as an introduction to the section on The Thinking Organisation. The quote I like is that “the most powerful vehicle for team thinking is the team meeting” (p101). This concept could be usefully transferred to the ‘family meeting’ as a tool for parents and families where all members’ voices are heard and respected.

  • On Lupu Anca wrote:

    Ch. 14
    I looked at this chapter from the perspective of the community member who is involved in the running of a voluntary organization. What can I say?! Inspiring… Like Marie I highlighted the same line “the most powerful vehicle for team thinking is the team meeting…”. I couldn’t agree more. I have seen leaders who don’t necessarily see the importance of team meetings. They only call for a meeting if there is update or information to be given. But where is the team contribution?? I had a conversation with one of the community leaders who asked for advice to manage his team “better”. There was no team meeting, no “Thinking time”. He heard people complaining and he was “afraid” that having a meeting will turn people against him. I suggested by starting with monthly or bi/monthly meetings where he can just listen to his staff without being defensive or ask them what could be useful for them.He told me afterwards that people felt it was a positive thing.

    Ch. 15
    This chapter is again very useful for me. I decided to photocopy it and laminate it in order to bring it with me at the meetings I chair.
    I also see it useful when there are a couple of older kids arguing and “intervention” is necessary. In this instance the parent is the chairperson and the kids are the people in the meeting.
    I can see how giving everyone a chance to speak without interruption could do magic. Knowing there will be a turn for them will increase the chance to listen attentively to the others. I like the “positive start”; for an intervention with the children it could be “what happened when you co-operated? How did you feel?”. Let’s remember the final part which I consider equally important; “asking everyone what they thought went well and WHAT THEY RESPECT IN EACH OTHER”. This last part will give the children an opportunity to express their feelings and acknowledge the feelings of others and it also leaves them on a positive note at the end; so starting positively and ending positively!

  • On Marie Reilly wrote:

    Chapter 15 Meeting this way- this chapter was written from the perspective of the corporate environment but many of the principles can be applied to the family setting too. Kline lists what she calls ‘nine simple guidelines’ (p 102) for chairing brilliant meetings. Many of these guidelines could also be used in family discussions. Leo’s experience as a leader (pp 103-107) was that employees tend to want to please the employer and say what they think they ‘should’ say. In the same way, children often say what they think their parents (or society) want them to say. But is it what they really think?
    How many parents really ‘ask’ their kids for their suggestions and opinions? ‘Ask them. Still a radical idea’ (p105). Kline then goes into how to apply each of the nine guidelines in a corporate setting. I have selected a sample of these which I feel would apply to the family setting. Principle 1- giving everyone a turn ‘improves the quality of thinking in the group dramatically’ (p107). Ditto for families. Principle 2 – begin with a positive reality – ‘focusing on the positive first sets up better thinking conditions for dealing later with the problems’ (p107). This principle in Kline reminded me of the ‘remember to remember strategy’ in Siegel and Bryson’s The Wholebrain Child (2011). In the analogy on page 85 the mother first asks her daughter what the best part of her day was. This sets a positive tone for their chat. When her daughter has given her answer, only then does the mother ask what ‘not-the-best-part’ of the day was. This ties in nicely with some of the sample questions Kline uses for the work environment e.g. ‘what do you think is going well in our project?’ (p107). Principle 3 – let them finish- ‘get everyone to agree not to interrupt each other’ (p108). It might take some time to train kids not to interrupt others in a discussion but this is a principle that will stand to them in life if mastered early. Principle 8 – allow people’s feelings (p112). We learned in Chapter 9 ‘if we express feelings, just enough, thinking restarts’ (p74). Principle 9 – end with a positive note- in particular, show appreciation for the others present (p114). At the end of a family discussion, family members could be asked to say one good thing about the others present. In that way, everyone goes away feeling good about themselves and about the unit they belong to, namely the family.

  • On Val Mullally wrote:

    THX FOR YOUR COMMENTS. I LOVE HEARING HOW YOU RELATE THIS TO FAMILY. CH 16: PLEASE SHARE HOW THIS WORKS FOR YOU IN (A): A CONFLICTUAL SITUATION WITHIN FAMILY (B) IN PROGRESSING A PARTICULAR IDEA OR VISION. PLS READ CH 17 AS AN IMMEDIATE CONTINUATION OF CH 16. (IMAGINE YOU HAVING A FAMILY MEETING AND PROPOSING WHAT YOU HAVE IN MIND FOR THE FAMILY HOLIDAY)
    THEN CAN WE ALSO DISCUSS CH 18 THIS WEEK. ALTHOUGH THE CHAPTER IS ENTITLED ‘SUPERVISION’ PLEASE RELATE IT TO A SITUATION SUCH AS HOMEWORK, WHERE YOU WANT YOUR CHILD TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE TASK AT HAND. WHICH OF THESE QUESTIONS MIGHT BE PARTICULARLY HELPFUL? ANY OTHER THOUGHTS?

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