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Saturday, November 26, 2016

A World of Opportunity: Checklist

There's a world of opportunity out there when it comes to contribution and betterment. It's our world and if we contribute, we can help to craft a world that is good for all. Sounds pollyanna-ish, yes, but without that kind of positive, open minded, and energized outlook, we won't make the strides possible.

So with your future and the future of our world in mind, what's on your checklist? Where will you put your energy, time, and resources to contribute to the good life for yourself and others?

The checklist for betterment will not be one of pure pleasure, but instead a mix of pleasure, hard work, and sacrifice too. Let's face it, "You don't always get what you want," and that's a reality of life, and sometimes if you really want it, you have to sacrifice your way to that destination, opportunity, or reality.

I repeat my checklist again and again in numerous ways as it's not necessarily a natural journey. Instead it's a journey forwarded by vision rather than comfort and inclination. Truly if it were just comfort and inclination, I'd be less likely to work, simplify, or sacrifice--instead I'd just do whatever I want when I want. I know, however, that the result of good work, sacrifice, and vision is a satisfying result--one I want to repeat again and again including the following actions:

Student Response
As always I have countless student papers and projects to review, comment on, and use as a resource with regard to teaching more and better.

Classroom Community
Our community depends on organization, right supplies, time to talk and plan, inspiration, and lots of love. This takes time, planning, and energy.

Lesson Planning
Planning the lessons with and for students takes lots of time too. Good teaching is not a matter of following a curriculum "cookbook," but instead it's a craft that benefits from both the artistic and scientific individual and collective lens.

Teamwork and Collaboration
The best schools work with distributive, "teams within teams," models--I participate in many of those teams and each of them demands good research, attention, collaboration, creativity, and problem solving. This takes time, attention, and energy too.

Emerging Leaders 
I am surrounded by good people who are just starting their lives. This includes the young children I teach, the children I parent, and the many neighbors, relatives, and friends that I encounter throughout my days. These emerging leaders profit from our best attention, care, love, and support. There are so many opportunities to do what is right in this regard. It starts with listening, then noticing, and after that mentoring, coaching, and guiding. When we do well by these young people, we do well by our world and our future. At my stage of life, a big part of my responsibility is to empower, inspire, and support our emerging leaders.

Sharing Expertise
One way to support emerging leaders is to share expertise in explicit ways such as writing this blog, writing books, presenting at conferences, and helping out in small group or individual ways.

Life Long Learning
Learning is a moving target. As our world moves and changes, so does knowledge, concept, and skill. In order to do all that I've listed above well, you must have a steady diet of learning and in today's world there's endless opportunity to learn in real time and online.

Happiness and Health
If you're happy and healthy, you can give more and better. Happiness and health depend a lot on the basics including good food and water, good health care, rest, a welcoming home, friends and family, exercise and enjoyment. It's important to get rid of as much stress as possible and simplify so that you have the time and space for happiness. The more useless things you have, the more time it takes to care for them. The less things you have, the more time you have.

You Can't Do it All, Yet, Contribute
You have to choose and prioritize because you can't do it all. Yet, you have to stretch a bit so that you do what's important. Particularly with our current world/national political climate, you have to stay informed and active in some way or else the democracy that we've grown to expect will no longer exist.

Network
Since you can't do it all, it's best to create a strong network online and in realtime that relies on each other to do as much as possible. For example, I've chosen some wise educators to follow, and I mostly do follow their lead when it comes to education choice and voice. Their collected contribution, experience, knowledge, and intellect make them excellent go-to people when it comes to making and contributing to important work in education. I will do the same for social programming, political efforts, and decisions regarding the environment. This is why share is so important. There's no way we can know all we need to know in this complex world, and it will be our networks, collective action, and inspiration that make us strong and better.

Inspiration
Time for great movies, art, nature, good food with friends, adventure, travel, reading, and more will bring us the inspiration and wisdom of the ages. We need to join our friends and family in these life enriching events that help us to make life meaningful and positive.

It's a long checklist, one I will prioritize even more as I look at the calendar for the days ahead. What's on your checklist as you consider the bountiful opportunities around you?