The Song Stuck in My Head

Whenever I open my laptop to begin working, I always open a few tabs on my browser. One of them has to be a music station. Some say that multitasking is just spreading out your attention and talents among more than one task, but music has been known to help fire up the brain for better functioning. In “Listen While You Work: What Music Does to Your Brain“, there’s all sorts of reasons why music is so popular. In my classroom, if students are working independently, I allow headphones or soft music as long as it isn’t distracting.

In Salina, KS, Kenwood Park hosts free outdoor concerts every Thursday evening during June and July and it’s such a neat atmosphere. Bring a chair, bring something to drink, bring some friends. It’s almost as good as going to a paid concert. For Mother’s Day, my sister and I took my mom to a Three Dog Night concert this July, her favorite band from high school. It was a blast, and I know she had a great time.

From the glow of the marquee

After the concert, we stood in the glow of the marquee. My mom even bought a $20 t-shirt!

The differing generations at both of these events really proves that music is universal in that it touches everyone. I’ve never heard anyone say they don’t like music. I visited my 89-year-old neighbor last week, and the conversation turned my son’s recent surgery for a Baha that will aid him with single-sided deafness. I mentioned how much he misses out on, including music. She stated something that I’ve said repeatedly, “Music is so important!” Sure, her choice of what music is compared to my choice would be obviously different, but that’s when it really struck me: no matter what age, what preference, people love music. It brings us together, it helps us get through tasks, and it makes life more fun. As the above article says, “music was meant to keep you alive.”

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Things that Make You More Smarter

Recently I watched an MSN video about 8 things that make you dumber. Some of them made sense, but others were laughable or absurd although they were probably true.

In honor of unimportant research, here’s my list of 8 things that make you smarter.    (Note: This study was not based on enough research for any kind of coherent conclusion.)

1. If you hang out with dull people, then you will look bright in comparison. It’s the same theory that pretty girls hang out with average or downright ugly girls so they shine in a crowd. To continue this ever-changing metaphor, glittering personalities do not always mean a sparkling mind, so the next item on the list may be applicable. Another option would be to hang out with the trolls on the Internet or view a few YouTube videos until you find yourself watching cats.

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

2. Beauty may distract people from thinking clearly, but I contest that the entrance of an enchanting and graceful fair maiden or a hulky piece of meat may up the ante a little. Competition amongst the group may generate some interesting ideas. True, those ideas may be focused on simply impressing the new addition to the crowd, but the odds will allow a few ideas to come through and actually be both viable and useful.

3. Around early October I usually teach a small section of aphorisms where the textbook features “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. The best one is in the middle–#12–where it says, “Take a nap every afternoon.” Not only is a well-rested person more agreeable, but it will aid him or her to becoming smarter. And who doesn’t like to cat nap once in a while?

Cover of "All I Really Need to Know I Lea...

4. People learn from mistakes and parents would be wise to allow their children to screw up. Our culture is divided with how we view spankings, but whether you believe in corporal punishment or not, research shows that spankings cause social embarrassment among other side effects. In other words, don’t let them make that mistake, deservedly or not.

5. Overweight people not only hide their regrets in their food, but apparently they hide their intelligence somewhere else than it should be. Solution? Anorexia. Bulimia. Recovering bulimic patients have shown a higher level of serotonin which aids in all sorts of body and mind functions, including happiness.

English: Portrait drawing of Henry David Thoreau  6. Agoraphobic people may be on the right track. Being overstimulated in a crowd can hinder memory stores and other brain functions. Take note of Henry David Thoreau and a couple of months in the woods at Walden, or better yet, Earl Dibbles, Jr.  From the first on the list above, take a moment and view Earl at his best via YouTube.  That’s right.  Use the outdoors and the open air to clear your mind for higher-level thinking.

7.  With another layer of fat to keep babies safe and healthy, they are also at an advantage intellectually if they are breastfed.  Breast milk is not a cure-all (or so I have read) but the issue of Time clearly allows a socially accepted toddler still nursing.  Breast milk helps the brain develop and let’s admit it, I know some men about 26 that are still trying to reach the end of that stage.

8. The oldest child may have an advantage with the attention he or she gets from the over protective mommy and daddy, or mommy and mommy, or daddy and daddy…but they will probably never need #4’s wisdom of spanking.  They have enough attention that they may never screw up, at least in the doting parents’ eyes.  Of course, the alternative is to have an only child because as responsible parents, who would want to have a sub-par child?  It is a responsibility to society and to the child that they are the center of a family’s importance.

I’m obviously not the oldest child in my family.