Last updateMon, 28 Jan 2013 9pm

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Black and White Thinking

Jelibeans love colour we already know that, so why do we assume situations and feelings have to be only black and white?

Compromise is not a word that many of you may wish to explore, if that is the case then you had better skip this bit even though it may help you. It’s a long word for these things really, here goes:

1. Agreeing to something even if it isn’t quite what you wanted but its pretty close.
2. Reaching an agreement with both parties giving in on some points

So there you have it. Marshmallows are able to compromise far easier, because they take time, and see not only black and white but different shades of black, white, pink, green and blue, actually every colour of the rainbow. It’s their palette, their brain board that stores and blends all the colours into shades. Sounds lovely doesn’t it? I wish I had one, I am a glitter, pretty pink and purple chick. This idea is right up my street but unfortunately, as usual, I ain’t on that particular street.

OK, so how do we manage to purchase an artist’s palette and embroider it into our brains, oh and then empty a load of Dulux Match Pots all over it and jumble it up, uh? That’s not an option but believe it or not, we can TRAIN our brains to become artists in their own right. Here’s how -

Step 1 Grab one of those paint shade charts, the freebie ones in the DIY stores, stuff in a pocket and take home.

Step 2 For this bit we are going to use red to represent anger feelings using 5 shades of red. Start with a pale pink and graduate down to deeper shades until you find a deep maroon ( some Jelibeans will prefer a scarlet as the deepest )

Step 3 Once you’ve chosen and you and your jellybean have agreed on colours, think of a way you can separate the colours to touch them. We used different shades of ribbon, but you could try using paper and sticky-back plastic or maybe even buttons. We’ve even used pom poms with wool, these are lovely and fantastic to make. Here's how:

Cereal box card, free!

Draw and cut out 2 large polo mints with your cardboard, about the size of a saucer is best, the bigger the circle the bigger the pom pom. Make sure the hole in the middle is big enough to push your wool through ( big fluffly wool is great ).

Wind the wool around the circles that you have made, binding them together pushing the wool through the middle hole until the hole is no more and you can only feel a squishy soft pad of wool. Knot the wool and secure it. ( depending on how big your circle is, this could take a little while, so don’t try and to it at school pick up time )

Take the scissors, supervise your jellybean otherwise your pink wool may end up red! Snip around the outer edge, go right the way around. GENTLY, remove the cardboard circles and fluff up your pom pom. Fantastic aren’t they, really cosy and cuddly.

Continue making the pom poms in your chosen graduating shades. Hopefully you will end up with 5 in your chosen shades.

You can thread them onto a ribbon, or sew them together, whatever takes your fancy. I’ve used the red shade as an example of anger, start with the first rumbly tummy feeling, the one that you are aware of but doesn’t as yet cause too much trouble. This is how we did it.

Pale Pink = frustrated
Dusty Pink = upset
Soft red = cross
Scarlet = furious
Aubergine( nearly black )= tsunami/ rage

You can do it with other colours to represent other emotions. We chose shades of lemon through to neon yellow for happiness, this is a sunshiny type of colour. Green is for behaviour, the palest of green being FANTASTIC through to slimey sludgy green for not so fantastic. The choice is yours, what have you got to lose and what do the wool shops have to gain?

Notice the shades in other people, Mr Jones was really cross today, but what colour was he and why? Yes, other people feel, too, and hey, guess what? sometimes it’s different from how we feel.

Angry because the teacher has told me off and I did nothing wrong and then he got angry with me! So what happens when your anger is a red and the teacher’s is a pale pink frustration? Shut up would be my advice, pale pink in our family is just about OK. Trouble is the jellybean becomes a bit of a jellymean and reckons that teacher is a red or even worse burgundy! See how easy it is to get it wrong?

Understanding shades of feeling, naming them, and working on understanding compromise can lead to hyperventilation quickly. It’s hard for us jellybeans to see that someone who sounds or looks angry may just be a bit cross, and if you wait for a minute or two, the angry look and angry sound may go away. So the first rule when trying to work out how bad a situation is, is to count to three inside your head. Then try really hard to identify the shade that you see or hear. It may not be as bad as you think!

The important point is that not everything is Black Or White. There are shades of grey, millions of them, all shading into each other, because if there weren’t, you’d never see anything on a ‘black and white’ photograph! Pure black and pure white aren’t often part of the colour scale on black and white photographs. To see what’s in the picture, you have to be able to see all the different shades of grey. And we can, can’t we? So one day we might all be able to see all the colours, and all the shades, and give them all names. By that time we’ll have learnt how to install an artist’s palette in our heads. In the meantime, we’ll have to make do with pom poms – but it was fun, wasn’t it!