Lessons at the Dinner Table Challenge: PERCEPTION

Welcome to the first week of the Lesson at the Dinner Table Challenge.

It all began on November 11, 2012 with a post entitled,

  Lessons at the Dinner Table: Perception (link here or on the photo)

which described some reflections I had while breaking bread at an Italian restaurant with my teenage son.

For purposes I’ll define as “fairness in editing,” I asked him to read it prior to my final live submission (since it was, after all, about him). Not only did I get his blessing to Publish, but he liked the idea behind my title so well, he wanted to make it a Series. A couple of more minutes of brainstorming caused us to determine that it needed to become a Blogging Community Series, if others were interested in becoming involved.

So here are the details of how to submit your own Dinner Table Lesson, as inspired by that first historic post.

#mysonisimpressedbythispost

My son read the first (and at the time, I thought the only) “Lessons at the Dinner Table” post moments before I submitted it. He liked it so well, he had the following suggestions for me:

First, he thought I should give it a Category of its own, entitled after the post itself – “Lessons at the Dinner Table” – because he thought there were a lot of good lessons that came (or should come) from encouraging family interaction and conversation (despite what the evil teen hormonal voices sometimes try to say).

Secondly, we agreed that others should have the opportunity to contribute by linking up since you, too, probably have some great words of wisdom that have cropped up when breaking bread with others at one time or another. (Breaking bread is always a communal event, after all – or it should be.)

In the blogging community, it seems that Theme Challenges serve as the best approach to get this kind of community participation.
So I’m honoring my son’s creative idea by putting out a Tuesday challenge every other week entitled: “Lessons at the Dinner Table: Theme Title“. (I decided to begin every other week, rather than weekly, as I know I can’t force these things unnaturally; nor can you).

If you’d like to contribute, first blog about it with a “Lesson at the Dinner Table” title. Feel free to make it a true or creative story and we’d love to see a photo to go with it (though it’s not required – OR maybe photographers can just include a photo to represent the theme). I feel certain that you already get that this is a family-oriented theme, so enough said about that. 🙂  (For further clarification, this blog’s intent is to celebrate the gift of our triumphant human spirits – whether by humor, inspiration or insight.)

In honor of the first-ever post, let’s keep the theme for this first week:

PERCEPTION

You may choose to share your creative works here either through a ping back to the themed post or by adding your link in that post’s Comments section. You might also want to add “Lessons at the Dinner Table” in your search terms, so others may easily find posts of similarity.

#mysondoesntthinkImaloser

Community, Simplicity, Harmony & Generosity,

-jody

Recipe for Baking Earth Pie – in honor of Earth Day

I thought I’d rerun this, in honor of Earth Day:

Carl Sagan is credited with saying, “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”

So I thought, ‘Who isn’t up for a good geography lesson on the earth’s layers – while hanging out at the dinner table, eating a worthy illustration made of ooey-gooey pie?’ I figured we could have our pie and live on it too!

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Brick oven in South Sudan

Insert two parts core.

Center, magnetize, stir

at faster rotational pace.

Layer mantle. Use

Easybake oven, circulating heat.

Add crust.

Thin, crispiness of

Continents, ocean floors,

oozing volcano pie.

Serve on tectonic plates.

Yei, South Sudan

Here’s to earth pie in your eye! -jody

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The ingredients & recipe for Earth Pie were originally written in response to:


Trifecta’s weekend Trifextra Writing Challenge forty-nine: As you’ll recall from your elementary science class days, the structure of the earth can be divided most simply into three sections: core, mantle, crust.  (Diagram is below.) Give us 33 words from it.  Interpret the prompt however you wish–literal, metaphorical, or somewhere in between.

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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And while we’re talking about the Earth, did you know there are still people dying on it every 60 seconds from a disease that is strictly related to poverty and that is both treatable & preventable?

That disease is malaria – and it especially strikes out against young lives. Of the children who die under the age of 5 in Africa, approximately 1 in 5 of those is from malaria. (The photos above were taken in South Sudan, where many of these children live – and die.)

Just $10 could make a difference in saving that 1 life. Here’s a little more information, if you’re interested in celebrating Earth Day on behalf of people who struggle to survive on it daily:

Imagine No Malaria – Break the Cycle

Shared Mealtimes – Luck of the Irish, Chinese, whomever you may be…

I always feel that fortune has smiled on me whenever I get the opportunity for one-on-one time with someone I love…

especially those special moments between generations, as sometimes it’s more difficult to find those common threads that delight.

Here’s a Chinese lunch buffet-time in which I was being informed about all the creatures of the Chinese Zodiac,  thus who should best get along with whom among our family members!

Regardless of however it was supposed to turn out, the two of us were getting along grandly!

lunchtime____________________________________________________________________________________________

This post is brought to you by the WordPress Weekly Challenge: Lunchtime

 

Recipe for Baking Earth Pie

Carl Sagan is credited with saying, “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”

So I thought, ‘Who isn’t up for a good geography lesson on the earth’s layers – while hanging out at the dinner table, eating a worthy illustration made of ooey-gooey pie?’ I figured we could have our pie and live on it too!

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Brick oven in South Sudan

Insert two parts core.

Center, magnetize, stir

at faster rotational pace.

Layer mantle. Use

Easybake oven, circulating heat.

Add crust.

Thin, crispiness of

Continents, ocean floors,

oozing volcano pie.

Serve on tectonic plates.

Yei, South Sudan

Here’s to earth pie in your eye! -jody

_______________________________________________________________________

The ingredients & recipe for Earth Pie were written in response to:


Trifecta’s weekend Trifextra Writing Challenge forty-nine: As you’ll recall from your elementary science class days, the structure of the earth can be divided most simply into three sections: core, mantle, crust.  (Diagram is below.) Give us 33 words from it.  Interpret the prompt however you wish–literal, metaphorical, or somewhere in between.

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Lessons at the Dinner Table: The Wonder of it All

dinnertimeEver wonder what makes a particular group of people click? And then keep on clicking for years afterwards? Essentially, such interaction requires ‘role acceptance.’

If you ever wish to learn how a person interacts within his/her designated family role, the dinner table is an excellent place to begin your investigation. As a matter of fact, families who don’t interact around a dinner table traditionally don’t interact well with one another in other areas of their lives.

Here’s an edited excerpt from a little dinner table investigation in At the Water’s Edge, where Douglas Donnelly has just returned home from a business trip to find a most unexpected and interesting interaction culminating between his two eldest sons.

I revised this little blip of insight to meet the Trifecta Writing Challenge standards for Week Fifty-seven. The word to be included is wonder (without variation), based upon its third definition: (noun) 3: rapt attention or astonishment at something awesomely mysterious or new to one’s experience: a feeling of doubt or uncertainty. The writing also has to be between 33 and 333 words. (I’m at the exact maximum.)

More than anything else, I hope you enjoy interacting with the Donnelly family, as you get to know them better while clicking with their group.

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Wey frowned, directing his own heated gaze onto Wil. He couldn’t understand why his brother had chosen their Ma’s lovely house guest as the target of his murkiness lately; and even Wey, normally light-hearted, was being infected by this sudden personality change.  Not that Wil hadn’t always been more intense about everything, by Wey’s standard, but things were getting out of hand here.

Douglas was next to notice the sudden change in atmosphere, looking upon his wife in utter confusion. Cairine simply glanced back his way with an agitated, baffled shrug, as if to convey, ‘And this is how it’s been while you were away. Welcome home.’

Keeley leaned over to their guest, whispering something in her ear and giggling. Danielle attempted to muster a polite grin for Keeley’s sake. Wey hummed to himself – well, pretending for it to be to himself – to test the waters. Wil pretended to ignore him while continuing to sulk. Danielle wriggled in her chair.

 Cairine let out an aggravated sigh, moving to stand and gather plates; but Douglas reached for her arm, giving a nearly imperceptible shake of his head. He was home, this was his family, and they would be having breakfast together. Plus, he was taking particular interest in the effect the pretty American guest was having on his two sons.  He’d never seen either of them make much effort towards courting a young wan. And – unlike his fretting wife – being a man, he didn’t get too concerned over competition or even a few fists being slung around (as evidenced by the fact he hadn’t even brought up the fading black eye of his eldest son). A smirk of wonder twisted its way around his mouth as he considered whether the girl might have had something to do with that shiner.  He tried to remove the amusement from his eyes before his own attractive and perceptive wife caught onto his thoughts. He inwardly grimaced, knowing from his peripheral vision it was too late.

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Follow the Trifecta link here to vote for my entry or others this week in the Trifecta Community Challenge.

Hope you enjoyed clicking with the group! -jody

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Related articles:

Lessons at the Dinner Table: Experimenting with Liquid Density vs. Viscosity

Come Visit our Dinner Table turned Homemade Science Lab to learn more about LIQUIDS!

Here’s a fun at-home science experiment for kids (okay, and adults) to consider the densities and viscosities of various liquids. I’ll give you the simplified kitchen version.

Liquid Density Science Experiment

Materials Needed:

  4 “shot” (small, clear) glasses:

 (1) ¾ full of room temperature water, colored with blue water-based food coloring

 (1) ¾ full of light corn syrup, colored with red “gel” food coloring (which also has corn syrup as base)

 (1) ¾ full of glycerin (from first aid section of drug store, which will have a clear color)

 (1) ¾ full of pure vegetable oil (which will have its own natural yellow color)
PLUS (1) taller clear juice glass, in which you’ll eventually pour all these liquids together.               

 

Procedure:

 Pour each liquid, slowly*, into the juice glass, one at a time, in this suggested order:

  1. Water
  2. Corn Syrup
  3. Glycerine
  4. Oil

 Wait a moment for the liquids to settle and layer out.  The more dense liquids will go to the bottom of the glass, and the less dense liquids will layer at the top of the glass.

(*I’ve done this in a mason jar & shaken it up too. Just realize that, if you choose this option, you’re going to be waiting awhile for things to settle out.)

 You can repeat the experiment, pouring the liquids into the glass in a different order.  Regardless, if you do the experiment properly, your layers should always come out the same.

(Note:  Some of the food coloring may slightly leak from one fluid to another because of the gel or water base in them, rather than the liquids themselves coming together.)

Results:

 

Can you tell which of your liquids is the most dense? 

 The least dense? 

 Is that what you expected, based on how thick (viscous) they were when you poured them?

 

 

To check your answers (and get a more comprehensive explanation + some other options to the experiment), review the slides below from my son’s 5th  grade science experiment that he conducted and the answers he discovered:

Comparing Liquid Viscosity to Density
Using the Scientific Method

(the beginning slide shares the same name as this title)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

***

Thought it would also be fun to do a ping-back to the Where’s My Backpack Travel Theme this Week on Liquids, for all those submitting to contemplate on the viscosities of all their lovely fluid depictions.

***

How to: Submit Lessons at the Dinner Table to Share with Others

Lessons at the Dinner Table: Perception

After sitting to share a meal the other night with my son at one of our favorite Italian restaurants, I left with a fresh perspective on some of the important lessons to remember in life. They’re such good reminders, in fact, I’d be remiss not to share them.

At the most base level, your Perception Prerequisite Lesson would have to be:

Make a point to eat where you’re allowed to draw in crayon on the table! 
Were it not for this fact alone, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

You see, my son is taking an Art elective in school.
His choice was based on careful considerations, such as:

  • for some reason still foreign to us, he couldn’t get into a foreign language class this school year;
  • he felt like his middle school years carried enough drama with them without taking it as a formal course;
  • his school’s music teacher didn’t consider his drum or guitar to be sufficient for her class without the addition of his changing voice;
  • which, essentially, left Art as the lesser of the evils in his young, forming teenage mind. (Don’t knock the reasoning, as many U.S. voters went to the polls last week with this same attitude.)

The server brought some bread to our table and we began to break off pieces and dip it into olive oil.  Being the good mother that I am (my son might substitute the word ‘good’ for ‘nagging’ or ‘nosy’ sometimes, but his perception is often clouded by the added irritant of flourishing hormones), I asked him how his school experiences were going and what he’d learned that day. In response, he smiled, picked up the brown crayon our server had left behind after writing her name on our table, and stated,

“We’re learning about Perception in art class.”

He proceeded by taking this one, ugly brown crayon and placing its dull, worn-down tip on the paper-covered table to draw. (I’ll admit, I was skeptical. Even in the short-supply box of crayons, there’s only so much that I’ve ever been able to do with a brown crayon.)

***

This is what he brought to the dinner table as his offering:

Don’t miss the bread crumbs hanging out on our table.

They serve as an important reminder of:

Lesson Number 1.

As we sat there breaking bread together, it dawned on me the importance of this lesson, which is to Live in Community. Regardless of friction that may sometimes get created when we rub elbows with one another, how much potential do we miss in our own lives when we don’t take time to have our Perceptions broadened by others? Sitting there in front of me, after an arduous work day, was a warm and inviting mug, quickly and beautifully created with nothing more than a singular brown crayon and an enthusiastic response to an invitation to communicate that perception.

Lesson Number 2.

Going back to that singular, brown crayon, I’m reminded to be content in the concept to Live Simply. My son didn’t complain that he didn’t have the right resources to share his new perceptual knowledge with me. He didn’t bemoan that sometimes brown was the color of ‘yuk’, that it couldn’t measure up to the other rainbow-colored desires in this world. He didn’t make excuses that he didn’t have charcoals or tissue paper for smudging. He joyfully ‘made do’ with the resource he was given. How much more often I need to adopt this Perception.

Lesson Number 3.

Our server brought us a carafe of water for refills, as we waited for our main course.  My son decided we needed some musical entertainment, so we grabbed our wine glasses (as they weren’t otherwise being used) and added some water. We held the stems tightly with one hand while dipping our other fingers in and sliding them over the glass rims. We giggled in one another’s company as we orchestrated a musical symphony (by our Perception!) with the notes and rhythms we created together. What a beautiful reminder of how we’re called to Live in Harmony.

Lesson Number 4.

I glanced at that little cup on the table as we were preparing to leave. I understood that gift to me had been temporal; its time was fleeting. I wondered if our server would get a second of enjoyment from it when she cleared our table, as I’d watched her do time and time again that evening with other, less decorated ones surrounding us. I thought of how I’d conversed with her earlier and how she’d shared her concerns of being a single mom. I thought of how tough single motherhood is on so many levels. Though my work day had been long, it was ended. While I had the privilege of supping with my own child, hers did not have her presence for dinner that same evening. I leaned over and added an additional amount to our tip that brought it well over the expected percentage. (Why not, I thought? We’d come with a coupon plus she’d brought us another – and had allowed us to use them both together! What a generous surprise that had been.) As my son had shared his little cup with me at that table, I had received a strong Perception reminder – my cup runs over in so many ways in which I’ve been blessed in my life. When we share our gifts openly and freely with others, we encompass this final lesson – to Live Generously.

Filling our cups to overflowing with these four Perceptions can improve overall life satisfaction.
Go ahead.
Test me on it!
I’ll guarantee it!

#mysonisimpressedbythispost

My son just finished reading this post a few moments ago and liked it so well, he made the following suggestions:

First, he wanted me to give it a category of its own, entitled after the post itself – “Lessons at the Dinner Table” – because he thought there were a lot of good lessons that came (or should come) from encouraging family interaction and conversation (despite what the evil teen hormonal voices sometimes try to say).

Secondly, we agreed that others should have the opportunity to contribute, since you all probably have some great words of wisdom that have cropped up when breaking bread with others at one time or another.

So, I’m going to try to include a “Lesson at the Dinner Table Post: Subject Title” every week or so as an ongoing theme, to honor my son’s creative idea.  And I hope you’ll join us by including your own post for this challenge!

#mysondoesntthinkImaloser

Community, Simplicity, Harmony & Generosity,

-jody