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As Men, We Should Be Willing to Take a Hard Looks at Ourselves. . .

Nothing like a stroll in the city on a nice day.

During Summer 2019, I read a number of articles on teaching practices that help to create what are called High Impact Learning Environments, intended to equip 21st century undergraduates with the kinds of broad knowledge, abilities, and skills -- beyond specific course content -- necessary to function in the real world once they leave behind the relative 'safe space' of a college or university campus. Presumably after actually managing to complete their degree programs and graduate.

Parenthetically, I have problems with reducing a college or university education to purely vocational training, but there we are.  'Student success' is the name of the game, and while I still feel that an individual make's his or her OWN luck and is responsible for his or her OWN success, calls for personal responsibility are not what anyone wants to hear in 2020. Sadly, this is the world I live in, and I've got to make my way in it.  Hence my particular approach when it comes to teaching and learning. 

Returning to the point at hand, and without going through the presumed benefits of High Impact Practices, one thought has remained clear in my mind since reading and digesting the various pieces I examined.  One article concluded with the author(s) pointing out that adjusting one's teaching approach to incorporate even a couple of these high impact practices into class planning and activities would make an appreciable difference in how well students engaged and performed academically speaking.

Allow me, then, to borrow that idea into our context here at Classic Style.  My overarching message for the new year is this.  As men, we must be willing to take a hard look at AND very likely change some things about ourselves.  Not necessarily anything huge, mind you, but changes nevertheless.  Two or three small things will suffice (to start), for example improving something about our attire, personal habits, behavior in public, speech habits, or knowledge of and attitudes about the rest of the world.  

Given society's current state of what seems to be completely and inexorably self-involved, self-centered slovenliness, we need to do something in what ought to be an ongoing program to become more stylish, polished, and sophisticated individuals.  

We have, as men and as a society, a choice.  We can either continue down our crass, unrefined path, OR we can choose to leave behind the uncouth, belligerent attitudes that so many exhibit when it comes to the notion of self-improvement.  We can quit taking a perverse pride in our uncultivated ways of being and try, instead, to become better people. 

Just a little something to think about about as we venture forth into 2020.

-- Heinz-Ulrich


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