Friday evening, The Grand Duchess and I enjoyed the change in temperature by sitting out on the screened back porch until quite late in the evening talking about this and that. Covid-19, its effect on U.S. society, our government's woeful lack of response to the ongoing public crisis, our state's response, our university's response, the general quality of the students, what the scholarship of teaching and learning can or should do to reach the mean while maintaining a fairly high level or academic rigor, etc. While I could not articulate it very well at the time, the following thought has gradually clarified itself during the last few days. So, here goes.
We can clamor all we want for the coveted "change," but perhaps we should take a more grass roots approach that's a bit closer to home? Maybe, just maybe, if we want a change in outcomes, whatever the issue under scrutiny might be, we ought to be much more willing to examine, reevaluate, and change things about ourselves.
It's worth thinking about for longer than a few seconds before dismissing the proposal rapidly with the now ubiquitous verbal 'talk to the hand' of the masses, "What. . . everrrrr!" But Stay with me for just a moment.
When everyone meets at the figurative negotiation table, we've got to relearn and practice the art of compromise, modify our views, alter what we ask for, how, and when. And some of that might just include looking at ourselves and our angry demands with a more critical eye. Change in ourselves might be entirely necessary before we can expect others to meet us halfway from across the table.
My view, after more than half a century on this mortal coil, however, is that far too many people are unwilling to modify anything about themselves. Rather, they expect everything and everyone else to adapt to them. Oh, yes. I see the irony here. It's not lost on me. Nevertheless, there is no escape from the heavily implied, urgent, and prevailing cries of, "What can you do for (or give) me, me, ME??!!"
Maybe, just maybe, the change that everyone demands so vociferously in 2020, in whatever form that takes, would actually come about much more readily were people more willing than they are to change things about themselves first? It would certainly save us all considerable time and deliberation. But, as my cynical old mother occasionally asks in a rhetorical sense, "Then what else would they have to talk about?"
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