Transform lives for the benefit of society
I love that. I believe we should all be working to improve our society, and I believe that the key to improvement at the corporate level is transformation at the individual level.
Here is my problem with that statement of purpose – its posture does not promote for those it was intended to serve what I believe is the single most important catalyst of individual transformation and ultimately societal improvement – personal responsibility. Embedded in this statement of purpose is the assumption that it is the responsibility of the University of Texas to transform the lives of its students. As I’ve said here many times before, unless and until you assume full responsibility for yourself, you force others to assume responsibility for you. Assuming responsibility for yourself is your foundational act of service toward others.
As an educator, it’s not my responsibility to transform the lives of my students; it’s theirs. My role as an educator is to facilitate the transfer of the core technology they need to assume a posture of continual transformation – the ability to learn. When people understand how to understand why things work the way they do, then and only then can they create a unique future for themselves and those they have been given the privilege to serve through leadership. If you don’t assume responsibility for understanding generative learning, the best you will ever be able to achieve is mediocrity – competitive parity.
The good news is students are not dependent on me or any other educator to acquire that technology. When students realize that they alone are responsible for learning how to learn, then I and every other educator in the system can assume our rightful roles as one but certainly not the only means to an end that matters. I’m simply a tool; and I think some of my students would agree.
If I don’t assume responsibility for my own continual transformation, then I do my students a disservice by not being as prepared as I should be to partner with them in their transformation process. Yet for the student that has assumed full responsibility for his or herself, my talents as an educator, while they might be a legitimate issue, are never an excuse.
I’m also responsible for doing my part to continually improve the education system, which I believe paradoxically, is incapable of transforming itself. While it’s my responsibility to do what I can, students hold the real key to transformation of the system. Until students become less dependent on and more interdependent with the formal education system, transformation change for both will continue to be elusive.
The educational system must be disrupted for the process of transformational change to begin. That disruption can only come from students, not politicians or administrators. Students must stop colluding with a system that models dependent relationship and step into the fullness of their responsibility to transform themselves, and ultimately every system they choose to partner with, for the benefit of society.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!