Thursday, April 14, 2011

Blog Post #12

Stanford UniversityImage via WikipediaPrompt:
What inspires you?
Is it something tangible?
Watch this video of Steve Jobs as he addresses a graduating class at Stanford and tells them three stories about his life to inspire them. He talks of love, joy, and life and doing what you love. Your time is limited, so don't get stuck following someone else's life. The video is inspirational and addressed to college graduates so it should be easily applied.

Steve Jobs ends the speech with the admonition, "Stay hungry. Stay foolish."
What does that mean to you and how can you apply that to your future as an educator?

My Response:

Finding inspiration is like a journey down a twisting trail in the mountains. You never know what will be around the bend, be it a deer or a rock. It's hard to say exactly what inspires me, but I know that some of my inspirations are as tangible as the keyboard beneath my fingers. My family, my friends, even my pets are all what drive me to succeed and keep going when I'm sick of it. I can just imagine how disappointed they would be if I failed, or at least, I believe that would be disappointed. In reality, they may not be. It's hard to know those things for sure. But that doesn't mean I don't still want to do my best for them.

Other inspirations are less easily defined. They may be a sunset or a chilly day. A slowly falling leaf or a drop of rain. Such things are acts of nature, and I find that I'm especially susceptible to those acts. It may be the artist in me, but some days I have this overwhelming inclination to sing or paint. Other days I'm morose or sad, but drawn to writing in a fury of ideas. It's amazing how something seemingly mundane can flick the switch of inspiration in my soul.

Steve Jobs illustrated some wonderful points about life. It's hard to let someone down, as I've already said, but hardest of all when it's your family. The idea failure is difficult to stomach. But if you aren't happy, it is your obligation to find your happiness and follow where it might lead. For Steve Jobs, his joy led him to a successful career at Apple and gave the world the personal computer! I'd say following his happiness led to a whole bunch of us being happy.

"Stay hungry. Stay foolish." The words made me thoughtful as he said them and I almost didn't notice the video had ended. I started to think about staying hungry, and how it could apply to life. Jobs means for us to keep our desire to learn more, to want more, to fight for more. If we become satisfied with our stagnant lives, we'll become lazy and laziness doesn't lead to great discoveries, or in our cases, excellent teachers. We have to continue to push the envelope and expand our own horizons in order to make progress in education. It isn't enough to say, "I've become a teacher, and now I shall teach them what I know. No more, no less." No. Being an educator of young minds means having the ability to realize that what you know is not enough because knowledge keeps shifting and expanding.

I didn't quite understand Jobs' telling us to be foolish, but after giving it some thought, I came to a rough conclusion. In order to "stay hungry" you must be willing to make some mistakes. In our society, mistakes are the fool's to make. But if we are too careful of staying within the lines, we'll never do anything new or exciting and our hunger will fade. We must remain at least a little foolish. It is the foolish man who fears not the ridicule of another. To teach, you have to be open to skeptics but remain unaffected by them or else they'll dissuade you from your own dreams.

Fear keeps us firmly in the past. It mocks us at it ties us to what we know and expect. You have to be open to inspiration coming from the oddest of places or else you might miss your chance at success. Don't miss out. Keep your hunger and leave your inhibitions in the dust. Don't let your fears keep you from living the life you want to live. Don't take any day for granted, because it may be your last.

Like the lines from the song "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack,
"I hope you never lose your sense of wonder./
You get your fill to eat/
but always keep that hunger."

I hope you dance.
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  1. If there were another week in the semester your post would be required reading for all EDM310 students. Would I have them do the assignment you have set forth? I'm not sure I would. How could they do better than you have done?

    Thanks for getting me to watch Jobs' speech. I had heard of it of course, but only because in it he revealed that he had been stricken with cancer. That is not what was important about his speech. You have made that clear in your wise and wonderfully written commentary.

    Thank you. Beautifully done!

  2. Hey Bailey, I am checking out your blog post because Dr. Strange said mine and yours was so much alike. I am glad you posted the video, because I would have probably never seen it other wise. I really enjoyed it and thought his 3 stories were very meaningful. You did a great job of covering this 'would be' blog post. Good luck to you in your educational journey!

  3. Awesome reflection Bailey! I too have been inspired by Steve Jobs' commencement speech and now by your thoughtful reflection.