Think Tank: Keep on moseying – don’t mind us.

Before you misunderstand let me make it clear.  I completely believe in not running over pedestrians with my car.  I feel pretty strongly about that.

But you know those moments when you’ve rushed all morning to get ready and every minute counts?  You’re watching the clock tick away feeling helpless; knowing you won’t be where you need to be and that every moment late matters.  Then this happens: you drive up to an intersection where a group of pedestrians decide to take their jolly little time to cross the street.  You have to wait because pedestrians have the right of way.  And they should.  But that doesn’t help the bubbling frustration brewing in your soul.  They probably stop to scratch their head, tie their shoe, notice the bird flying by, brush their teeth, read a book, do their taxes, discover the unified theory of physics!  You actually see grass growing under their feet THROUGH THE ASPHALT!

(sorry let me take a moment to settle down [“breathe . . . breathe”])

These hypothetical pedestrians have the right to cross the street, but if they were being a little more considerate and aware they would add a little hop into their steps to burden those waiting for them as little as possible. Instead they remain in a state of oblivious mosey.

I see the oblivious mosey growing beyond the confines of the white stripes at intersections.  There is a growing attitude that there are rights we can just take and we needn’t worry about the effect it has on those around us.  You can hear that principle demonstrated here as welfare recipients are excited about the handouts they receive but don’t realize that since they didn’t work for it themselves someone else had to.  They mosey along not realizing that every $100 they take cost someone else an hour or two of their life.

Now we all have to cross streets and get help now and then.  But how do you do it well?  In my mind there are three principles which which turn an oblivious mosey to a goal oriented march.

First, be aware of the effect you’re having on others.  Be aware when people are helping you, sacrificing for you or waiting for you.

Second, limit the burden you make for others by doing all you can.  I believe that mankind actually enjoys serving and helping one another when they feel that their efforts matter.  But when you use the generosity and patience of others to indulge in your own laziness or weakness it lessens the potential for them to want to be generous or patient in the future.  It makes it hard for them to see the purpose in what they’re doing for you when it looks like they are doing something you could but are unwilling to do for yourself.

Third, be grateful.  No matter what the excuse or circumstances it doesn’t change the fact that someone else had to do more than their fair share for you.  You created this extra work, sacrifice or wait for them.  Show appropriate gratitude and respect.

How does this apply to education?  One of the biggest frustrations I have as a teacher is when parents or students need extra help to get good grades and expect the teacher to bear the large majority of that burden.  It usually means an extra work load for me that actually hinders instead of helps the growth of skills and knowledge for the student.  I do more work to allow the student to continue in their oblivious mosey.

Your teachers and classmates want to see you grow and learn – they really do.  Use the means the teachers has already set up to facilitate that growth.  If you need extra help beyond that, have late assignments and other exceptions or need someone to do something for you use the principles above.  Be aware this is more work and sacrifice for those who will help you.  Do your best to lessen the load on those helping you by giving extra effort yourself.  Be grateful for what they are doing.  Doing this will ensure that the teacher will not have festering thoughts of running over you with a car.  It will also help all efforts move towards more growth, more ability and more accomplishment.

-Greg

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