— Daniel Pink, A Whole New Mind
At the Butler Homecoming this month, it was wonderful to see so many alumni return and reconnect with members of the College of Education.
As I listened to our graduates who are educators in many settings (schools, parenting, businesses, and retirement), the theme of “design” emerged for me.
From conversations on becoming a parent and trying to find balance in life, deciding upon a career move, facing challenges in the culture of a school or district, or finding new opportunities in retirement, I was reminded of Margaret Wheatley’s statement, “We can’t be creative if we refuse to be confused.”
There is not one “right answer” to any of the issues the alumni were describing but perhaps a good solution for one moment in time. So how do we design our lives, and what does it involve? I provide the following to spark your creative process:
Dare to be willing to be confused and to take risks.
Examine your environment and situation carefully to see new possibilities.
Speak more with questions than with answers.
Imagine how your daily life will change by making small, incremental, and creative changes.
Go forward with courage; don’t wait one more minute to begin developing your dreams. Never believe that you do not have the power to make necessary changes to move forward.
A very dear friend and colleague of mine, Dr. Louise Cadwell, shared the following piece written by Superintendent Linda Henke of Maplewood Richmond Heights School District in St. Louis. Dr. Henke wrote this piece for her graduate students in a school principal preparation program. I share these powerful words with you to provoke your thinking about the role of design in your life.
To My Wonderful Students
Be designers…first and foremost…design.
Design with a glorious childhood in mind,
not just a good education;
Design toward an amazing future,
not just a reaction to the past;
Design with an engaged heart and spirit,
not just with your analytic mind;
Design with a fearless sense of possibility,
not with the anxiety of compliance;
Design with your dance shoes on
and your butterfly net in hand,
not just in your work clothes;
Design as a gentle warrior for children,
not as a bureaucrat longing for certainty,
seeking comfort in numbers;
Design…our children desperately need you
to design new schools that celebrate childhood,
not try to remediate it.
I am constantly thinking about how we must continue to design the education that our children deserve. After all, we are educating them for a future we will never see, but the greatest gift we can give them is the ability to constantly design and redesign.
My challenge to you is to share your design story with others on the COE blog, Facebook, or Twitter. Wherever you are in life, what are you dreaming, designing, and creating? I will be waiting to hear from you!
“…and the wonderful thing about possibilities are that they are endless…”
Until next month,
Dr. Ena Shelley
Dean, College of Education
Explore the archives of previous Transforming Education entries.