My Mission Statement

I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Odyssey of the Mind AGAIn

This week-end is the regional OM competition, so this week is full of last-minute details with the kids. This process has been very interesting to me. It's my first time coaching although I've been a teacher sponsor before and my kids have been on teams before. I salute all the coaches out there. It's a big job. I hope I've had something to offer these kids. The whole process has taught me a lot about the creative process. Let me try to share for all the artists out there (and you know, you are ALL artists).

First of all, let me say that it drives me crazy when someone says, "I just haven't been in the mood to write/paint/sculpt/play music/whatever lately. I can't get anything done until the mood strikes me." WHAT??? In the arts just like in science, discipline is critical. That's one reason I have this blog: for the discipline. Only in structure can creativity thrive. Sure you can get creative when the mood strikes, but it takes true discipline to take your art to a higher level. Such is true in OM. Were there days when the kids weren't in the 'mood' to be creative? Of course, but some of those days ended up being our most productive. Now it was a struggle for me to keep them on task, and they resisted every step of the way. But that discipline yielded results. Just like Pavlov's dog, as they entered the OM area or OM practice, they got into the mindset. Not to say every minute was 'productive' in our society's sense of the word, but every minute was productive in the OM sense of the word. Basically, I provided structure (okay, FORCED structure) so they could still run willy nilly but within perameters. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a great coach. There are great coaches out there and I wouldn't put me in that category AT ALL. I'd say I learned more than them. So here's what I've gleaned.

1. Everyone wants to run around and eat Doritos when it's time to work. EVERYONE. But at some point you have to stop and work or pay big consequences later.
2. Everyone wants to do things his or her OWN way. But good teamwork is about compromise, hearing lots of perspectives, and learning from it all. That's a discipline, a learned trait.
3. Everyone thinks they know their own part and no one else does, but the bottom line is NO ONE knows their role until they have complete and utter respect and understanding of every other role. TEAMWORK.
4. Feedback is the breakfast of champions. Sometimes it's hard to hear, but it's ALWAYS valuable.

Yesterday the team performed for a group of teachers, OM judges, etc. It went pretty well, but really shined a light on the weak points. So now they're motivated to fix a few things with a few days to go. Anyway, it's like your manuscript feels great until someone asks to see it, and you're like, WAIT.

Anyway, that's all my musings for today. xoxox Hug an OM coach today!


Dorothy said...

Good work, Donna. I mean really GOOD work. Here's my hug for an OM coach today. OOOOO

Sara said...

I'm going to have to quote you on the Doritos thing. :)

Isabel by Donna Jones Koppelman

Isabel by Donna Jones Koppelman

Major Bear at the Grove Park Inn by Donna Jones Koppelman

Major Bear at the Grove Park Inn by Donna Jones Koppelman