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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Price of Innocence is Impotence

There are only two ways to look at problems and events in your life: those events within your control and those events out of your control.  If you believe something is in your control you are powerful. If you believe something is out of your control you are innocent.

Working in the bush has shown me that there are some pretty amazing teachers, staff members and students working in rural schools. What makes them effective? Why are some looked to as leaders? How do certain teachers get so much out of their students?

I say it’s because they are in control… or at least they think they are.

I read recently:
There are two types of causes: those within and those beyond your control. You have a choice about where to focus. The latter makes you look innocent. You are not to blame. The former makes you powerful. It is your “response-ability.” Being “response-able” means focusing on what you can do to respond to a challenge. It’s about taking ownership, rather than assigning blame and playing the innocent victim. As I wrote here, the price of innocence is impotence.

Teachers are a great sample of the population in general, but especially so when one considers the task before our nation and the role of the American teacher. In the Bush, for example, there is an unending thread of negatives that must be overcome before a teacher can succeed (or so it would seem).

“Well we don’t even have water in the village so I…”
“These kids don’t do homework so how can I…”
“The community isn’t supportive enough so I…”

I am not saying it’s teachers’ fault, I am one of them after all. What I am saying is that when you add up all those statements at the end of the year do you have more that you can’t control or can?

Maybe I am lying to myself, but I choose to take responsibility. I WILL do. I WILL be held accountable. I WILL succeed. I will also fail, come up short, and accept consequences.

I recently bench pressed 335lbs. 
When I lifted it I felt strong, before I could I said it “was too heavy.”
Lots of other guys could lift it though, so what I meant to say was “It was too heavy for me”  So… will you “be strong” or will you say “it’s too heavy?”

If you hear me say “it’s too heavy” remind me to add “for me.”