As we age, we have to be mindful about the fact that we can become outdated.
I was reminded of that recently when I had a discussion with a contemporary in the hallway. Her language was outdated and embarrassing. As I listened to her, I remembered how that kind of talk was common about twenty years ago, but today the kinds of words and phrases she used are considered outdated and derogatory That person has been working in somewhat isolated settings so I'm sure she was unaware of the impact of her words. Since I don't know the person well and will work with her infrequently, I didn't say anything. She didn't harm anyone.
The film, Late Night, is a good reminder about what happens if you don't update your approach as times change and you age. Lately, I've been working on listening more than speaking, observing more than acting, trying out other's ideas rather than just my own. I have liked what I've learned during these new approaches--in a sense, I'm in the process of updating as I watch my my younger colleagues do in multiple situations and let them lead me.
Just today, on social media, an individual made fun of teachers in a way that was condescending and hurtful. The note implied that approaches used by many hard working teachers who work day in and day out with their students was all wrong. I know this person has little day-to-day interface with children, and while his ideas are solid, his approach to change is frustrating. You can't make change by making fun of people or blasting forth your ideas. I myself have tried this approach to little success. Good changemakers know, that the best way to make most change is an incremental approach that includes modeling, risk, sharing ideas, assessment, and presenting the results. Generally good change usually catches on because those changes positively affect lives in doable and manageable ways. It can be overwhelming to listen to preachers of change who speak a lot, but don't help out in ways that make that change happen.
As I consider the forward thinking ideas of the individual who ridiculed many teachers, I am wondering how to make those ideas come alive in incremental way--how can we work for that kind of change? In our own sphere we've inched toward more child-friendly, open, project-based learning endeavor and we've made some progress. Yet, there's more we can do. I'll listen to the many young leaders around me to hear their ideas about this forward movement and hopefully be able to help out.
We all have to continually update ourselves for the world we live in and the people we live with--that's a positive process for good living. A process I want to think more about in the days ahead. Onward.