History is full of our accomplishments; some monumental advancements, others everyday enhancements. And while we can’t choose our moment in time, we leave our mark no matter when and where we live.
Routinely, there are those immediate life improvements that boast bigger, better, faster, cheaper breakthroughs in transportation and entertainment, communication and collaboration, and remedies for everything from nail fungus to migraines. We bring to bear what the market demands.
Then, every so often, something stops life as we know it, commanding our attention: war, famine, disease, climate change…any of a number of cataclysmic events overwhelms the status quo…and epic change occurs.
The difference between routine progress and profound societal change is the push. Whatever “normal” was, it’s broken beyond repair and we can’t go back. We have no choice but to chart new territory on an unknown landscape, pushing forward to different ways of being and doing and living.
Sure, we espouse truisms about change: think differently, forge new paths, and move outside your comfort zone! But we resist until we face an existential threat. It’s true in schools…in business…in government…locally…globally. When the push finally comes, we have no choice but to respond.
No one likes being pushed. It’s unexpected. We stumble and regain our footing or we fall and pick ourselves up. Regardless, we’re fully capable of recovering and resuming life, whatever that looks like.
Push, bump, shove, ram, jolt…however we feel it, it’s happened. There are no sidelines or peanut galleries. We’re all in this together as we test, fail, learn and find ways to move forward in uncertain, unfamiliar times.
Let’s do this!
Walter McKenzie is Senior Director for Constituent Services at ASCD, leading its affiliate, connected community, professional interest community, student chapter and emerging leader programs.