Hope And The Filter Metaphor

Today I had a chance to use this filter metaphor with a second-grade friend. 
I was pretty sure it would help and had high hopes about its effectiveness ...

Me:  Let's talk about the filter. You know about coffee, right?
Him: Yep.
Me: Well, what do you do with the coffee beans?
Him: You grind them up and put them in a filter.
Me: And why do you put them in a filter?
Him: Because the hot water goes through it and turns the beans into coffee.
Me: And do the coffee beans taste good by themselves?
Him: Nope. You need the filter and the hot water to change them into coffee.
Me (thinking I'm getting somewhere!): So, what do you do with the filter when the coffee's done?
Him: Throw it away.
Me: Right. So let's pretend the coffee beans are your thoughts. The filter catches the bitter ones and the hot water washes the good ones through and turns them into a tasty treat, right?
Him: Yep.
Me: And then what do you do with the used filter and the thoughts you don't need once you're done with them?
Him: Throw them in the trash.
Me: Right, 'cause the filter did its job and now it's garbage.
Him: Yep.
Me: Did you use your filter this morning?
Him: Nope.
Me: Can you tell me why not?
Him: 'Cause I don't really like coffee.

Yep, sometimes my mornings go like that. Just when I thought I was rockin' and rollin' along, slam dunking this thing called counseling that I'm blessed to do, I get met with the literal reality of a seven-year-old who has totally captured my heart and needs more love and guidance than I ever thought possible and then possibly I could ever provide.

Did he understand the filter metaphor? Oh yeah, 'cause I had him share what he'd learned about it later in the day and he nailed it. This time when we inquired about if he'd used his filter, he answered, no, because he lost his temper. He was even able to verbalize the kinds of things that he could have said to make his coffee taste better. Will our little chat activate his filter next time? It could. Is there goodness brewing deep inside that little fella's heart? Without a doubt. And that's the treat that brings me back every day. 

It's called hope and it makes me happy.

Oh, and just for fun, here are some links to fun things that you
can do with a coffee filter and some time. 

How do you teach your little baristas to filter their thoughts?



  1. That's a wonderful metaphor. I don't know that my kids know how coffee and filters work, but I'm willing to give it a whirl.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  2. Love it Barbara! Next time I make these turkeys out of coffee filters- http://www.teachingwithtlc.com/2008/11/thanksgiving-art.html I will remember to add this lesson. ☺


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