On my rock, thinking… VISIONING.

A few months ago I had changed the banner that sits at the top of the introduction page to my web space (which this is a part of).  I have been thinking deeply about change and really found meaning in the following quote.  It is a famous inspirational quote of Mohandas ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi that has been translated into English.  The quote reads, “Be the change that you want to see in this world.”  Simple, yet profound.  In many ways this has been the mantra through which I have been viewing this course, and much of my own teaching this semester.  In many ways, this quote sums up my visioning.  I want to inspire change.  I want to awaken students to the understanding that change is inevitable, that change is necessary, that the needs are immediate, and that change is already happening.  I want my students to understand that they have the ability to create change; to be change.  I want this for myself, for my family, my children, and for my students.

As I try to envision the larger picture; the ideal situation towards which I strive, I see myself living as a positive example.  I see myself working hard towards living a lifestyle that contributes to the sustainability of human existence on our planet.  I dream one day of owning a house that is not only ‘off the grid’ in terms of demanding gas and electricity to be supplied, but one that generates a surplus of electricity to give or sell back to the community.  I dream of living in a community of like-minded people who are thinking, acting and living sustainably.  I dream of looking back on my teaching career and realizing that I was able to make a difference; that I was able to awaken teenagers to the realities and to the truths of our world; that I was able to communicate a message of hope; and that I was able to inspire young people to create change.  I hope that I can inspire children to create significant change; real change that has an impact on our culture and the mindset of many people; change that leads us to living sustainably as a culture.  I hope to be able to lead as an example.  I hope to be able to live as the best possible example, especially for my own children.  I want my own children to live healthy, happy, creative lives through which they have a positive footprint on the earth.

I want to educate children about sustainability and sustainable energy sources.  I want to educate children about carbon emissions and about positive global footprints.  I want to share the messages of so many important thinkers.  I want children to understand what David Suzuki, Chris Jordan, Al Gore, Peter Senge, and so many others are talking about.  I want children to be literate of the truths and the real issues of their time.  And I want to be careful not to overwhelm them.  There are so many problems and issues facing this, and future generations.  There are so many examples of how we are not living in sustainable ways on this planet.  The information, the facts, and the images can be completely overloading, overwhelming, and quite depressing.  I want to be careful at balancing informing with inspiring.  There is a serious risk of overwhelming individuals with truth, sometimes creating a feeling of hopelessness.  I want to provide positive examples of change that is already happening.  I want to communicate a message of hope. 

In a nutshell, this is my vision statement.  I want to be the change that I want to see in this world.  I want to awaken and inspire others to do the same.  The change that I want to see is to live sustainably in ways in which we are not taking more from the earth than it can supply, and in ways that do not take away from future generations.


4 Responses

  1. Ryan . . . as a follow-up to our chat after class below is an excerpt from that former student of mine who provides his take on how things have changed . . . it causes one to pause with respect to the concept of change, acceptance and the challenges that may or may not arise depending upon perception.

    I continue to journal while traveling the subway and observing the interactions that go on there. I have been watching the interaction between young people (since I am a teacher) and the elderly (since I am on the cusp). The young people, usually plugged in to their iPods, or moving in large groups of friends, don’t even seem to notice the elderly. They push past them and knock them with their bags. They sit in seats when they are empty and, since they don’t notice anyone else, never offer their seats to elderly people who get on the subway after the seats are full. It’s fascinating to watch perhaps 100 people all crowded together and yet most of them “in their own world.” Even groups of students, talking incessantly, will use language and talk about issues as if there was no one else around. The lack of social graces, or even recognition that they are in a “public” place is quite astounding.

    Then again, I traveled the Go Train last week and a businessman, younger than me but certainly old enough to know better, sat in the seat facing me and talking loudly on his cell phone the entire time. Aside from the fact that I did not want to listen to his conversation, it struck me that he was treating me as an invisible person, carrying on his conversation as though he was in his private office, once again proof that all space has been turned into private space where people seem to think they can do whatever they want, regardless of who else is there.

    People on the subway can’t use cell phones so it is relatively quiet, but on the Go Train, there are one-sided conversations everywhere. When you sit back and watch it, it appears quite odd, but then when you go out on the street and see hundreds of those conversations take place, you realize you have become a relic. All public places ARE now private places and I just need to adjust to that. If I plug in my iPod and retreat into my own world, I can do that but somehow that feels incredibly impersonal to me. Imagine a city of 4 million where most people are ignoring each other all day? No wonder people feel lonely despite being surrounded by masses of others!

    Talk to you sooner than later and see you Thursday.


  2. You and I speak the same language. This is my and our Smiling Mask Team’s mission for families, our families, our children..our future. We, as parents are the ultimate role models; we must live our values in order to continue constructive change; we must acknowledge the valuable change that IS occurring; we must be thankful for all the good we have already co-created, for gratitude begets our wishes. Thank you for sharing your goodness of spirit and the love for yourself and community : )

    I’m proud of you….Elita

    • Thanks for the kind words, Elita. You are such a ray of positive light! I wanted to respond here, on this page, so that I could link to your site – The Smiling Mask. I see that you have a DVD of a documentary out soon – your site looks amazing. That is so exciting! Keep up your excellent work! I am proud of you as well. Take care… Ryan

  3. You’re such a good friend…let’s all hang out more often ; )

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