I wonder what kind of change my students will be responsible for creating in the future. As I get older, and teach longer, I find myself thinking about this more and more and find that it is driving me to change the way I teach. What will they do? World leaders, technological innovators, neighborhood activists, loving parents. I strive to have each kid graduate from my class with at least the knowledge that they can change the world, they are not just a member of the audience, they are the writers and directors.
The following is inscribed on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop in Westminster Abby (1100 A.D.) …
When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country.
But it, too, seemed immovable.
As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.
And now, as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family.
From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country, and who knows, I may have even changed the world.
Some might say that we do too many assignments that require self-reflection. But as the above quote states, we must all be able to change ourselves first, before we start dreaming to change the world we live in. Once we start looking inside ourselves, we also start to study history differently. No longer is Harriet Tubman just a hero for freeing slaves, but we start to think about why she was a great person and then start to internalize some of her characteristics that made her a hero. We take one step closer to being like her, one step closer to changing the world.
I just hope that they don’t wait until the “future” to start creating change.
It is also important to remember that while past-present-& future are all somehow interconnected, the only place from which to change the future is in the NOW. The power for change resides in the present moment, for that is the only place from which our thoughts or actions can actually be changed.
I can’t wait to find out what they will do, and how they will do it.