In last night’s class, we read the story “Amelia Bedelia and the Surprise Shower” together. It is one of the classic Amelia Bedelia series. As a maid, Amelia Bedelia created some crisis for the surprise wedding shower for Miss Alma. Instead of getting rid of the scales on the fish and putting them in the fridge (scale and ice the fish), she left the fish on the scale to weigh and put icing on the raw fish; instead of ironing the tablecloth (run over the tablecloth with iron), she run over the table cloth with an iron in hand, leaving her footprints on the clean tablecloth; instead of pruning the hedges (prune the hedge), she stick prunes on the hedges; instead of putting the cut flowers in the vase, she cut off the pedals and put them in a vase, just to name a few. However, when all the mess made the guests angry, she stayed calm and never forgot to bring out her signature cupcakes with smiles on her face the whole time. Finally, the kind Miss Alma burst into laughter, either after understanding the true reason or looking at the forever-smiling Amelia Bedelia. Anyway, it was a happy ending, everybody had an unexpected type of wedding shower, with pouring water from the hose.
I don’t k now how many times I had read this story before, during and after preparing this lesson. The first time, my reaction was, seriously? There are people like her, making stupid mistakes due to misunderstanding? After that, as I had been reading and expanding my thinking, the more I read the story, the more I find something we can learn from this girl. That’s exactly what happened in class yesterday.
After reading the story, I ask “How do you like the story? How do you like the girl?” No doubt, the replies were, to list a few, “She is stupid.”, “If she doesn’t understand, why not ask to clarify?”, “Her mistake can cause bigger problem if it is another more serious situations.” I understood where these answers come from. After clarifying that certain situations do require seriousness and accuracy, I then keep asking,
“What if she doesn’t think it is a misunderstanding?”
“Well, she is lack of common sense.”
“Does these cause any real trouble?”
“Yes, the guests were mad and the whole celebration was ruined.”
“Ok. The shower was ruined. Then how was the shower ended?”
“Well, it was a happy ending, everybody laughed, but it was because Miss Alma was kind and considerate.”
“Well, that makes sense. How do we define if an event is successful or not? Who can tell us if it is successful?”
“Of course, it is the guests.”
“The guests were happy at the end, so I believe the shower was a success.”
“En, I like your thinking.”
“Is there anything we can learn from this girl?”
“Absolutely not. She is so stupid.”
“How did the girl react when the guest started to get angry?”
They started to mention that she brought out the delicious cupcakes, she kept smiling, she was calm…..
“Great observation. You’ve pointed out the things that she did wrong, but is there something we can learn from her?”
After that question, the participants started to list her calmness, her relax, her humor, her excellent baking skills, and on and on. Then I ask, “Did you think about these right after reading the story?””No.””What happened? How come you start to say good things about this girl?””We look for the good things.”
That is it. We can say she is stupid for making such a mess, or we can also say she is smart for keeping calm and humorous in crises. We can say she doesn’t have common sense for not able to figure out people’s judgments, or we can say she has a follow-the-flow attitude and takes life easy for not affected by other’s mood. It all depends on how we look at it. It all depends on how we look at everything, our lives, other peoples, including ourselves. If you like feeling abundant, happy, good, positive, then you must train your eyes to spot these things. It is like the saying, “It only takes a sparkle of light to light up a dark room.”
Stupid or smart? Criticism or compliment? It is just a split of second, but it will make huge difference along the line.
To your success.