“I can’t get no satisfaction
Cause I try and I try and I try and I try”

–Mick Jagger & Keith Richards

When you think of being satisfied, you probably envision something like the feeling after eating a good meal, a fun or relaxing activity, listening to music you enjoy, the sound of ocean waves crashing on the beach or maybe even a accomplishing a goal.

You probably don’t associate a feeling of satisfaction with popping bubble-wrap bubbles, cutting paper with scissors, the sensation of magnetic attraction (or resistance),  or the clicking sound made by pressing the keys on a computer keyboard or clicking a mouse.

But the kids do! The sensations produced by these simple experiences and many others seem to fire off dopamine-releasing neurons in their kinesthetic brains.  So, they call it “satisfying.”

You see the difference between how most of us distinguish satisfaction and how they distinguish it,  don’t you?

It’s the difference between macro and micro. Most of us associate satisfaction with a series or sequence of broad sensory experiences and they associate it with a single sensory experience.

Your brain compiles results; theirs scrutinizes details. 

You see the forest; they see the trees!

Regrettably, I suppose, the kids often don’t see the forest for the trees.

At least that’s the way it appears to me when I’m trying to explain to them the potential consequences of their odd or inappropriate words or behavior that often proceeds from their narrowly-focused perspectives.

So, as a parent of tactile tweeners,  I’ve been working on trying to see things from their point of view, on becoming a little less focused on the forest and a little more conscious of the trees!

But, it’s not that easy when much of your experience in life and career is based on being a “big picture” sort of guy.  You always think you need to cultivate a forest when maybe all you really need to do is just grow a tree! 

The other day I sat down and watched a program on TV with the kids that had something about “oddly satisfying videos” in the title. The first video showed a person pushing their fingers into a big blob of colored slime and as they pulled their fingers out it made a soothing sucking noise. Then, they would use different colors and amounts of slime and insert their whole hands into the blob to produce greater suction.

On the second video a person compacted damp, colored sand into a pan and formed it into a brick or block. Then they would take a large cutting knife and slice the sand brick  into pieces much like you would slice a block of cheese. The knife made this gritty cutting sound as it sliced through the sand. The sand compacting and and slicing was then repeated with different amounts and colors of wet sand.

I don’t recall how many ways they performed the gritty sand slicing because I was watching it and then the next thing I knew the kids were shaking me to wake up!

Oddly satisfying? Relaxing? Or, hypnotizing? Not sure which, but I’m definitely stoked about giving this satisfaction therapy another try or two!

And, if I don’t gain a new perspective from the slime sucking or sand slicing, I’m sure my outlook could always benefit from a nice little nap!

1 thought on “Satisfaction

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