The inspiration for this post came from two quotes I had been pondering that really made a lot of sense when combined to consider a larger picture of not only never believing that you have reached the point at which you will spend the rest of your life, but actually doing something to improve your current circumstance.
The first quote is:
“You are never too old to set another goal or dream another dream.” -C.S.Lewis
Think about the power of those words. I think about my own life, but also cannot help but look at it from an educational perspective. We have a lot of knowledge in education, but we do not always act on what we know; especially when it has to do with changing how things are done. There is nothing worse than knowing something can be better; that we can be better and doing nothing about it; and as a result, settling for good enough.
Everything in the world is continuously updating. Everything around us is in a constant state of change as technology continues to evolve. I mention technology because while it first appears as a separate topic or aspect it has undeniably changed the way students (and adults) think and act. Why then are we staying stagnant or only slowly embracing these changes in education. We owe it to ourselves, to those we teach, to never do something because it has always been done that way because things today are not how they used to be. It falls on us as both educators and parents to push the envelop and realize what is needed and then adjust instead of waiting. This can be scary at times, but the hardest aspect of moving forward is starting. Every year that schools do not innovate and look at how their practices need to change is a mistake. Every year that parents admonish schools for trying innovative, research based practices because that is not how they used to do it is a mistake. Every time the educational system and as a result the students is used as a political football is a mistake. But that’s the beauty of what this quote is telling us.
It doesn’t matter if you made some bad choices; unless you accept them as final and do nothing to change course. Yes, that is hard, but not impossible.
So where do we start? This is where the second quote that inspired this post comes in.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle
The only way to make meaningful change that lasts in our lives is to embed the steps we take as habits and then behaviors. Otherwise it is just fleeting. Because of this, our small day to day actions matter. It is impossible to be successful at anything by attending to it on an irregular basis. True success comes from the consistent, intentional focus on small acts of self improvement. Have a vision, set a goal, and then faithfully implement the steps to get there.
So the question remains. When is it too late to change? According to those who dream of a life worth living or institutions that look to continue to prepare students for the world they are entering rather than the world they have already left behind…never!