Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Can You Hear Me?" vs "Are You Listening?"

Can you tell what's going on here? Pam Art (our president and publisher) and I are knitting a scarf — she's at one end, and I'm at the other. We're doing a charity contribution here at Storey for Keep The Fleece, an organization founded by the wonderful people at Wild Fibers magazine to benefit Heifer International. We asked our publishing community for donations, and for every $10 we receive, we knit an inch onto a scarf that will be exhibited (along with hundreds of others done by other knitting teams) at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival to be held in Rhinebeck, New York from October 16 through 18.

This scarf began in the middle, where another member of our staff, Gwen Steege, did an ingenious cast-on that enabled two people to knit at the same time. Pam and I, in the course of two back-to-back meetings one morning, knit almost three feet of scarf. It's kind of touchy to knit in meetings here, because some feel that if you're knitting, you're not concentrating on the meeting itself. I know that some classroom teachers feel this way, too. However, as the parent of two boys with attention issues (and really, what kid doesn't have attention issues these days?), I have done lots of research on this and found that doing something mindless with your hands often enables you to focus intensely with your brain, to absorb what's being said.

You know what else works? Chewing gum. This was passed on to me by a nurse at my pediatrician's office, and in doing some anecdotal research (i.e., asking parents in the school pickup line), I found that it's really true. Having a mindless task that is a learned muscle memory can help with attention, concentration, and executive function.

But mainly, Pam and I were simply enjoying ourselves.

Amy Greeman, Publicity Director

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