My Recipe for M.A.D. Skills
I signed up for a campus writing challenge, the Write 6X6 project, to post over the next six weeks about my thoughts and experiences on teaching, learning and students success.
This week’s theme for Write 6X6 is how we make a difference. At first I thought this would be an easy post, after all, I have worked hard over the years, am good at what I do, and have made significant contributions in my profession, but then doubt crept in. Shouldn’t I have done more? We introverts often have a hard time singing our own praises. In spite of having been a long-time student advocate, and accomplishing some of my best work this past year, I began to dwell on my shortcomings. Mulling over these rather murky thoughts, I stumbled upon this quote from Bucky Fuller, one of the great innovators of the modern world, who I have long admired.
“Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren’t any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn’t be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life’s challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person. ”
― R. Buckminster Fuller
Thank you Bucky, your words helped me remember, that even though I don’t always succeed in my efforts, I have always tried to be that “one person”. I’ve worked for the Maricopa Community Colleges for many years now. In my youth, I was driven by big plans to change the world. Along the way I learned, with the guidance of some wonderful people in my life who taught and led by example, how to strive to make a difference in the world on a smaller scale. My perspective gradually shifted from changing the world to shaping my microcosm to be a better place. I sought to help within my sphere of influence, for the people with whom I interact on a daily basis, most especially, for students.
In thinking this over, I’ve come to realize that having an impact begins simply by caring enough to act. Caring really matters. That said, truly making a difference goes much farther for me. I believe strongly in the power of education, taking my craft seriously, and developing whatever skills are necessary to get the job done well. I had a good laugh when I realized that my “Making a Difference” skills spelled out the acronym MAD.
And so, I offer you my recipe for M.A.D. skills. Feel free to borrow whatever you like and let me know how your recipe turns out.
My Recipe for MAD (Making A Difference) Skills
- A healthy dose of caring. Learn what matters to you and where you want to invest your energy helping others.
- A passion for work you love and believe in.
- An openness to learning. It is through education that we grow wiser and more understanding of ourselves, the world we live in and share.
- Good ears. Students really appreciate knowing that someone is looking out for them and willing to listen to their problem.
- An aptitude for asking questions and finding answers.
- A daring to think and choose the high road.
- An embrace of failures as essential learning opportunities.
- Courage to be that one person that makes a difference.
And my deepest gratitude to all of those who taught me the power of making a difference.