Just Try

Have you ever sat in a classroom full of children and a teacher asks for a  volunteer?

What usually happens?  All the hands go up..."Pick me...me...me...me..."

How (Why?) do kids do that?  They have absolutely no idea what they are volunteering for but they do it.  Not only do they volunteer but they volunteer with excitement, joy, eagerness.  Where (When?) does that enthusiasm and excitement get lost for the unknown?

A friend of mine sent me a quote that caused me to pause and reflect.  It is something I still think about months after it was sent.  By my own definition that means it resonated.

When we have a new idea or opinion we often surround ourselves with people who encourage the idea or validate the idea within us.  It is comforting to have people encourage us and support our thinking.  Who doesn’t like to be told they are right all the time?  "Gee, you are so right."  "I love that idea!"  "What a fantastic thought!"  Awesome, right?

But does that really help?  Does it encourage deeper thinking? Problem solving? Or true collaboration and development of multiple ideas?  Clearly not.

Is that courage?  Is that risk-taking?  Shouldn’t we seek out individuals that challenge our ideas and help us stretch our thinking and experiences?  As educators and leaders it is important, maybe critical, to create environments of learning where learners are expected to think, challenge, and push us further with our ideas and creativity.  If I already know what I need today; why should I learn anything new to change my tomorrow?

Being vulnerable and taking a risk is hard.  Raising your hand and volunteering an idea when you are in a room of critical thinkers and problem solvers takes a fair amount of bravery (maybe the word bravery is a little dramatic but work with it for now….).  The possibility of your idea being shot down is real.  The fear of rejection keeps us from putting things out on the table that might be  considered, developed, and become better.  Even AWESOME!!  That’s what educators need more of.  It’s what the foundation of the professional learning community is based within.  The power is in the room and what you think and know can be bigger and better with the courage to truly seek the feedback .  Just try.

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