Sunday, July 3, 2016

All In

Most of us who have ever heard of the great American leader Abraham Lincoln will recall what he said of his mother: “All that I am, all that I hope to be, I owe to my Angel mother.” (in Abraham Lincoln’s Philosophy of Common Sense, ed. Edward J. Kempf, 1965) But do you know what his mother’s last words to him were? They were “Be something, Abe.”
Simple but powerful terms, and such wise counsel, “Be something.” She didn’t say, “Be someone.” She said, “Be something, Abe.” There is a significant difference. In the dictionary someone is defined as “conceived or thought of, but not definitely known,” while something is identified as “a person or thing of importance.” Abraham Lincoln’s mother knew her son, his potential, and the rocky roads ahead of him; hence, she wanted him to commit himself promptly to being steadfast and immovable in living and promoting deeds of courage and faith in the lives of all mankind.
Marvin Ashton wrote: "A word of hope is poured out on every generation of people by those who advocate accomplishment, an exemplary life, living up to one’s abilities, and keeping one’s commitments. True happiness is not made in getting something. True happiness is becoming something. This can be done by being committed to lofty goals. We cannot become something without commitment."
Karate Kid came out when I was a teenager. In the movie, Mr Miyagi provided some words of wisdom concerning commitment. Commitment isn't a "guess so." It really is an all or none-

Commitment as a word cannot stand alone either. We must always ask, “Committed to what?” As all of us blend into education and learning, it behooves us to set goals for ourselves in order to reap growth. In setting our own goals we need to examine our own needs and abilities, which is part of modeling the growth mindset. The direction in which we are moving is more important than where we are at the moment. Goal setting should cause us to stretch as we make our way. Self-examination is most difficult. Surveys have shown that most people take credit for success to themselves, but blame their failures on external forces or other people. When our progress seems to be at a standstill, it is well for us to ask who is at fault. Is it I? Am I sufficiently committed? Do I have the courage, fortitude, and wisdom to apply self-examination—or will I be inclined to try and decide which of my associates will fail?
Dale Carnegie once said, “If you are not in the process of becoming the person you want to be, you are automatically engaged in becoming the person you don’t want to be.”
I’m thinking of a five-year-old boy who fell out of bed during the night and came crying to his mother’s bedside. To her question, “Why did you fall out of bed?” he replied, “I fell out because I wasn’t in far enough!” It has been my experience over the years that, generally speaking, those who falter are those who aren’t in far enough. They lacked commitment. They weren’t “all in.”

The difference between those committed and those who are not is the difference between the words want and will. For example, “I want to my students to be successful, but their home lives are so sad,” or “I will support the success of all my students.” “I want my staff to grow,” or “I will provide meaningful learning experiences for my staff.” “I want to be a good teacher, but the children are so disrespectful,” or “I will be a good teacher.”
Please add to the discussion. What words are you expressing as a want that needs to be turned into will? How will be commit and be all in?