I had two major problems helping my daughter put together her fall leaf collection for school. First, we only have three trees in our yard. Second, those are about the only trees I can identify, and that’s because I planted them.
The way I figured it, she either needed a smarter dad or we needed to get some help. We didn’t have time for the first option, so we had to get creative.
Fortunately we have a fantastic park in our town with a wide variety of trees, and they are all labeled with tiny signs. I have a suspicion the trees were planted to help kids like mine get a good grade on their leaf assignments no matter who their parents might be.
Labels are a fantastic resource. They can help you make sense out of things you don’t understand. Hmm, what is that tree with gigantic leaves? It’s huge! Oh, it’s a Bigleaf Magnolia.
They can also help you differentiate between two things are similar. Hey, is that a Sugar Maple? Nope, it’s a Red Maple. They kind of look alike.
And labels make it easy to identify an object without having to carefully examine it each time. How many lobes does that thing have? Do the veins go all the way to the edge? Who cares? Just read the sign!
It’s no wonder as humans we love to categorize and label things. It just makes life simpler. This is great when it comes to helping your kid with a fall leaf collection. Not so great when we try to apply the same principle to people. Continue reading