A little while back when I was still taking courses for my Doctorate I remember a book one of the professors had us read. The title was, “Don't Just Do Something, Stand There!: Ten Principles for Leading Meetings That Matter” While this was a good book, the title has brought me to some moments of reflection that at times have been uncomfortable. While there are many sayings that tell us to actively make change that is needed; it was the catching up with an old, good friend that drove it home and gave me a little more perspective. We spoke about everything from character to education to family to dreams for our children. I had more than a few takeaways (as I always do) from our 3.5 hour discussion (that seemed like 5 minutes), but the one I want to share at this point is this:
We are all able to point to something in our lives and realize that it can be better. We may even have some good strategies for achieving improvement. The problem lies in the courage and character to implement them.
There are always reasons (excuses) why we cannot begin to affect the changes we know are needed. I’m not prepared enough; I don’t hold enough power in my current position; the political climate isn’t right for it now; I’m unsure of my solution; and I don’t have specific, right answers are some that lead the pack. Unfortunately, the acceptance of these excuses leaves us at the default position of saying that what is currently occurring is good enough. Even when we do not verbalize it, we are quietly making concessions on our personal standards. Why do we accept that? Why not:
· Make that phone call
· Send that email
· Have that tough discussion
· Take challenges rather than easy paths
· Speak out
· Set goals and act to achieve them
· Ask yourself why not here? Why not now? Why not me?
In a world where many people want the best for the least…
Who among us negotiates during: the purchase of a car, house, or contract? I personally negotiated for a bus stop because when I was told that the current placement was acceptable and “good enough” I disagreed. How many of us settle for “good enough” in those negotiations without pushing back? Why then, would we ever settle for “good enough” when it involves education and therefore, the future composition of our society?
Just in case I’m rambling, let’s focus. Some examples of “good enough” in education:
· Students will not act respectful because that is who they are growing up based on the current culture and society.
· Some students just cannot learn the same content and/or skills, but must be pushed forward with scarcely supported interventions in an effort to help them feel better about what they have achieved.
· We must do better with less rather than get drawn into an ugly political fight for more funding for programs to assist students.
· There are issues with Common Core (depending on which state you live in) and the new teacher evaluation system in Massachusetts, but we are too busy and do not have a big enough voice to effectively seek meaningful change that is actually about improving public education rather than politics.
I realize that some of these issues are catch all and some are much more complicated than the simple sentence they are presented with. However, they illustrate a point if we stop and reflect. There are those of us who are doing everything they can to manifest positive change and there are those of us who are not…for whatever reason. In a perfect world, who are you. Who are you in reality? Don’t waste time pointing fingers, assigning blame, denying, or feeling guilty. Moving toward perfection is tough, time consuming work. I know I have a long journey. I owe it to too many people to not stop the excuses and start doing something.
What about you?
What about you?