Friday, December 10, 2010

Slowing Down for a Change

Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying "While good things come to those who wait, it's only what's been left behind by those who hustle." While I admire and respect all that the 16th president of the United States stood for and accomplished, I feel that we often inappropriately apply such sayings to specific instances in our everyday lives.

Our society has become so focused on instant solutions and immediate response that we fail to see how Patience truly is a virtue, and how necessary it is to slow down at times. We constantly are trying to make things happen now. For example, I can buy instant microwave popcorn, instant oatmeal, instant rice, instant mashed potatoes, and the list goes on and on. We instant message, and have instant updates sent to our phones. Is there any reason we would expect change to also be manifested instantly? But the reality is change does not occur instantaneously. In fact, change is often so slow we never see it happening. The results are evident as seasons change, styles change, and popularity changes. But change has often taken place and we recognize it after the fact.

When dealing with change we often have a major obstacle in our way - impatience. Our inability to wait for things to develop and occur causes us to make hasty decisions and neglect to see the consequences that may arise from those decisions.Whether it be decisions that take place on the national level, for example, RTTP (Race To The Top), or whether we are just trying to change things within our class, district, or community. Why are we so focused on speed and racing to get someplace? I don't know about you, but every time I read about the tortoise and the hare the racing rabbit seems to lose. We attempt to teach the formula of "Slow and steady wins the race", but fail to live it out. The fallout of our speed and quickness also has damaging affects to our demeanor and attitude. We don't see the immediate results we believe we should, and become discouraged, disheartened,and want to give up. If we focus on the reality that not all things in life are instantaneous, change being one of those things, we will be much better off. So take some time to slow down. Stop and smell the roses. Remember that slow and steady does win the race. Keep working for the improvements and change that are necessary and that you want to see. But remember, you'll probably never see the change happen only the results after it does.


  1. I agree but sometimes change has to happen quickly. And time is relative in schools. At my old school, decisions has to be approved by the school board and accepted by the union. Both organizations were not interested in innovation or change so nothing ever happened. My current school is crazy at times but we can make and implement decisions before most schools could get a committee together.
    Our current situation is completely changing our school philosophy and set-up before January. We are basically opening a new school for the spring semester and are planning all now. It is crazy, not everyone loves it, but it is happening regardless. We are losing some desirable but are gaining a lot more. Our boss says we are painting the jet while flying it. Good times. I do long for some balance of speed. Nothing as slow as union based decisions but doing something as fast as we are all the time isn't healthy, either.

  2. Dennis,

    Excellent point, and I understand and agree. I guess my concern is more with the idea of change for the sake of change, due to a faulty or outdated concept. If we recognize and understand that a problem exists, I think the change should be calculated and cautious in regards to the implementation. Exploring all options.

    In your case, I see and understand the necessity and aspect of speed. Thank you so much for your thoughts and comments.