Out of all of the outfits in my son Ryan’s closet, this one is my favorite. I love the message (is there anything you’d rather have a two year old do?). I love that the letters are different; bright and colorful and a little bit unusual. I love the texture of the fabric and that it stretches just enough to be a perfect fit on his little 2T body. I love that the shorts are durable enough to handle grass stains and rock slides, and that they have pockets for collecting the treasures my little explorer finds outside.
We got this outfit for Ryan in May, and it’s been my favorite ever since. But here’s the thing – it’s September now, and he’s NEVER worn it. Not even once. Why, you ask? It’s not because it didn’t fit, or that it wasn’t warm enough, or even that Ryan likes to pick out his own clothes. It’s because I’ve been waiting for the perfect moment. The elusive perfect moment.
For me, blogging has been like Ryan’s shirt, just hanging there in the closet. I know I have ideas worth sharing, and that I will learn so much from diving head first into an open space where my ideas are not only heard by a greater audience, but also appreciated, challenged, questioned, remixed, and reflected upon. But here I am, my ideas about education on the forefront of my mind every day (like the favorite shirt that I flip past every morning when I get Ryan dressed) but I am blogless – just waiting for the perfect moment.
As educators, we often get caught waiting for the perfect moment:
- “I’m not going to bring that up at today’s PLC because my colleagues ‘just aren’t ready yet.”
- “Sure, using that innovative app sounds like it would support my lesson beautifully, but I haven’t taught a how-to lesson on using the tablets and I don’t have time to do that today.”
- “I really want to retweet this, but I’m going to wait until I have more of a following so that more people can interact with the material I tweet.”
- “I loved reading about Number Talks, but I don’t think this is the perfect class to start it with. I’ll try next year.”
- “I want to go back to school for an additional certification that will open new doors, but I’m just too busy.”
- “I want to start blogging, but I need to build it up and make it look really good (and maybe even have my Marketing-major brother work some magic) before I share it with others.”
Yup. That’s last one is straight from the horse’s mouth. For some reason, I am living the writing process cycle that I was taught in elementary school…I feel this immense pressure to perfect before publish. In today’s world, that doesn’t make sense. What is perfect? And won’t every idea improve when challenged, revised, and questioned by others? If we are trying to model and embody the growth mindset, why would we wait until the “end” and publish something fixed?
Innovation is important because it takes us out of the perfect moment mindset. Innovators act on a spark – they don’t wait for somebody to build a fire pit, properly place the sticks, tear the newspaper, and light the match, and they certainly aren’t deterred if there’s rain in the forecast or a strong wind howling above.
Our rapidly changing world makes “perfect moments” a rarity. Learners must be empowered with the confidence to turn their spark into something bigger without the facilitation of a perfect moment. How? Dedication to cultivating the innovator’s mindset in ourselves, our students, and our communities of learners. We must create a world of learners who epitomize George Couros’s 8 Characteristics of the Innovator’s Mindset (see image below).
If we’re able to create a world of innovators, I know we’ll have a lot fewer favorite outfits sitting in the closet.