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Thursday
Aug022018

Are you motivated more by fear or opportunity?

First a short preface to writing what will probably turn out to be a curmudgeonly post: Social anthropologist Jennifer James explains why old people often have a "the world's going to hell in a handbasket" mentality. At some point, we recognize our own mortality and we find the fact we are going to dies easier to acknowledge if we think we are leaving a world that is getting worse rather than getting better.* 


Is it just me, or are our politics being driven increasingly by fear as opposed to opportunity?
  • Fear of immigrants
  • Fear of rural whites
  • Fear of other countries' economic policies
  • Fear of losing our middle class
  • Fear of LGBTQ rights or lack thereof
  • Fear of losing reproductive rights
  • Fear of losing privacy
  • Fear of not having medical insurance or a fear of others getting undeserved medical coverage
  • Fear of governmental overreach or governmental impotence
  • Fear of Russian meddling
  • Fear of fake news and alternative facts
  • Fear of technology in general, especially AI

And the list could be continued...

Our opinions and actions seem to be driven completely by the possibility of something bad happening as opposed to the opportunity to make something good happen. This does not feel like the country in which I grew up and have been working for 40+ years.

Is fear driving our decision-making in our schools (including our school libraries and tech departments) as well? (Better to overfilter than underfilter. Better not risk having students take devices home. Better pull back on ordering library materials that may be controversial. Better to stress in digital citizenship classes the dangers rather than the creative and constructive uses of the Internet.)

The leaders I admire most are those who move us with the desire for improvement, with forward movement, with new opportunities. I want to think, despite being a geezer, that this is still happening in our profession. It is opportunity that motivates us.

_________________________________________________________

 
* And there are some definite advantages to getting older, believe it or not. Update to my 2012 list:
  • If one enjoys seeing the beauty and grace of young people, one's definition of "young" encompasses a vastly larger percentage of the population.
  • There are fewer and fewer "hills worth dying on" at work. That leaves one time and energy to engage in the important things. 
  • One can relax knowing that one's potential for becoming a professional athlete, musician, or porn star are long past.
  • It's a pleasant change to worry more about the lack of time than the lack of money in one's life.
  • In athletic activities, one doesn't have to finish first, just finish, for people to be astounded.
  • It's fun to tease peers about all the mailings they're getting from AARP.
  • Shoes can be purchases based on comfort, not looks. (Oh, I guess I have always done that.)
  • One word: Grandchildren. Relishing watching babies grow into fine young adults.
  • With all one's own children over 21, one is responsible only for one's own mistakes.
  • One is expected to complain about one's aches and pains.
  • Understanding the joy of downsizing - possessions, clothes, housing, and obligations.
  • Realizing even if you could magically be 20 years old again, you wouldn't do it.

So far this aging thing, I'm happy to say, has been a lot more good than bad. I hope to be a problem to others for at least another 20 years or so.

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