Monday, September 22, 2014

Change is a Good Thing. We Make it That Way.

Change is inevitable. It is a part of every person's life and is something that many of us never get used to. We are creatures of habit and it is easiest to live within our comfort zone. We are naturally resistant to change because we feel more comfortable in the way it has always been and most feel like there is little risk in keeping things the way they are. Little do we know that by maintaining status quo, we put our chances of success, adventure, accomplishment, and fulfillment at risk.

Leadership takes the courage, fortitude, and mindset to accept change. Every major movement that has shaped our world has started with a leader who understood the need for change and pursued it rather than running from it. The book, "Three Cups of Tea" is about a man named Greg Mortensen who accepted change after being inspired by people in a small village in mountains of Pakistan. He recognized that the children there needed education to improve their living conditions. Rather than dismiss this idea with excuses like, terrorist threats, lack of infrastructure, and cultural constraints, Mortensen challenged the way things have been by fighting to establish a school for boys and girls to learn. He could have thrown money at the problem like people have in the past, but instead he took a risk and invested into something that he felt was worthy of pursuing. This is a great model for those of us that are afraid of change.

We find comfort in the success of the past. We feel that if it was successful in the past, it can happen again. However, like every good historian would tell you, context changes and therefore so should our approach. Change will happen, but our ability to adapt to it will determine how much success we have beyond it. Embracing change is easier said than done but leaders and change agents are prepared for it.

I think about the ability to change every day that I walk onto my campus. I believe that we are living in the most rapidly changing time the world has ever seen since its creation. Our students are stepping into this world and looking at us to prepare them for it. It is vital to their future that we prepare them for the changes that will inevitably come. There is no pre-packaged curriculum to accomplish this. But great teachers will rise up and create projects and learning opportunities for students that help them to be "change ready." They will teach them the process of inquiry, organization, and execution. They will teach them to work as a team and use their creativity to solve problems.

I want my students to embrace change. I want them to take on every challenge as an adventure and be fully equipped to persist through it. The result of change lies in their reaction to it. Change is a good thing. We make it that way. Leading is Teaching.

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