Saturday, October 4, 2014

Staying Young Without Being Childish

I recently had a conversation with my father about what smart phone he should get, and what plan, and so on. He told me of his interaction with his carrier when asking them about plans, and said that he had steered the conversation in the right direction by saying "my techie son, who knows about all this stuff, told me to find out..."
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I've always known I wanted to change the world.

I was touched by this sentiment for a couple of reasons. First off, it's an odd thing when I realized that I was now giving advice to the man who has been the source of advice for my entire life (and continues to be). Secondly, I was happy that my dad wasn't hesitant about diving into the whole smart phone thing, he just wanted to get the information he needed.

Image: OpenClipArt
I've always known I want to change the world. People laugh when I tell them that's my goal, but I'm serious. I want to change things. Maybe not start a revolution, but I want the world to end up a little better off for my having been here. And now I know one of the pathways that's going to take.

A lot of people whose lives I've touched have told me that I helped them try something new. My enthusiasm for a challenge reassured them. My willingness to help, to support, to share, and to appreciate them for their expertise is something that gives them confidence. Even though I can get a little geeky at times, and I'm often mocked for how much I enjoy being a geek (usually it's me mocking myself), I like knowing that I've helped teachers be adventurous. To get out of their comfort zone and try something new. To not be afraid to look foolish. I look foolish a lot, and I figured out the secret: if you enjoy it, looking foolish is actually quite fun!

If you're not afraid to look foolish, you stop looking foolish.

And that's the big secret behind staying curious. If you're not afraid to think that you look foolish, you stop looking foolish. Being a kid means looking at the world and thinking "Wow! Isn't that amazing! It's just so exciting!"

I have the opportunity to do a lot of professional development. I enjoy it, and I think that I can help teachers become better. Not because I can tell them what they're doing wrong. Not because I can tell them what they should be doing. I try to never do the former, and I hope that I can help them figure out the latter. What I want them to do is to leave with the feeling that it's okay to not know. Beyond that, it's not just okay, it's actually exciting to not know something, because that means you've got the opportunity to learn!

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