In Zanders’ Seventh Chapter of The Art of Possibility both Ben and Roz takes the reader on a “journey of possibility” by given examples and experiences that shows us how we take negative experiences and turn them into “walls” of challenges instead of paths toward our journey of possibility. The antidotal quotes and stories they use seem common sense, many of which we know. They have a way of helping you understand why it is “OK” to view the world from the “glass half-full” view instead of the opposite of half-empty. The focus of view that we should take should be on what is positive about the circumstance. In that ay we can focus on what moves us forward and not what holds us back.
I made an emotional connection as well as had an “Ah ha!” moment when reading the chapters of this assignment at two points. The first point; I teach teachers technology integration and continually hear from some teachers, “I can’t do this stuff”, “I’ll never understand this technology”, where am I going to get the time to practice”, or my favorite, “I haven’t needed technology in all these years, why do I need it now?” For most of these teachers their focus was on the “wall” or the technology. Many could not see the possibility in advancing themselves or their students through its use. Zanders’ explanation helps me to understand my role as an educational leader to reach them. Teachers often fear technology because they are afraid to make a mistake or “break” the computer. Zander says it is difficult to maintain an approach to things positively, “…in our competitive culture where so much attention is given to mistakes and criticism that the voice of the soul is literally interrupted.” This is where my leadership skills come in to make them feel secure both in training and when they return to the classroom.
The second point of encounter came from Roz Zander’s discussion of “The Wall”. In that section she talks about the “the wall” between a 16 year old boy and his parents. She addressed how the more the father talked about the wall that the boy put up the more the boy withdrew in the conversation. The only question I had when reading this section was how did Roz Zander get in my house without me seeing her? I had a mirror reaction to my now 25-year-old son when he was 15-16 years old with the same situation and circumstance. The conversations always centered on the wall and not what caused the wall or better still what would it take to fix it or tear it down. Discussions were usually “downward spirals” that inevitably led to a higher and thicker wall or as she puts it, “tend to look more and more helpless.” The long story cut short, leads to our finally remembering how much we loved each other and my realizing that he only wanted to be heard and seen as some value to the family. The wall fell down.
I am enjoying the journey.