NO IS NOT NO
“I always take ‘no’ as an absolute maybe.”
This quote was one of the first things Teri Turner, cookbook author and all around lover of life, said when I went to her speaking event and book signing last night. I love this quote. It is more than a quote, it really is a philosophy.
Hearing this made me pause, and think about my students. Actually it made me think about anyone who approaches life with a set of circumstances that might be outside what most people consider “normal.” I’m sure that there are so many people who are used to hearing “No!” Instead of no, maybe “let’s figure out a way we can try to make this work” is a better response. Does this require more work for everyone involved? Probably. Is it worth the effort? Almost always.
Thinking outside the box is a gift that many students and adults with learning differences possess. Why not be creative about possible solutions instead of shutting down even the possibility of success? Can a guide dog help a talented competitive swimmer who is deaf/blind? Yes! Can a child with ADHD be encouraged to use that energy to run or play a sport? Certainly! Can a child with autism who knows everything about one topic be allowed to focus on their passion? Absolutely...and who can predict what the outcome might be. Can any person be provided an environment that supports their success instead of forcing an environment that sabotages success? 100%. I’m living proof. Can extended time on a test help a student get into college to have the opportunity to really explore what makes them feel successful? Yes! Can this student turn around and do something amazing that changes the world? Why not?
So instead of no, which is almost a reflexive response when trying to make a different approach fit into an established paradigm, it is to our benefit to think about shifting that paradigm to allow for an approach that is suited to an individual to help that person achieve success. No is always an absolute maybe, and, in my opinion, should be more of a “Yes, let’s figure out how we can best make this work.”
If Teri took no and stopped pursuing her goals, instead of absolutely maybe this could work, I would not own her beautiful cookbook. It is more than just a beautiful cookbook, it is a book about love, family, food, and really is a gift to aspiring cooks, and more experienced cooks. But, it isn’t just about cooking. She did it, and she did it her very own way.