As part of Connected Educators Month, I sat in on “The Sun Never Sets”, a panel discussion about global connected education trends and how educators around the world can help each other improve practice, with panelists Ed Gragert, Lucy Gray, Vicki Davis, Julie Lindsay, and Anne Mirtschin. Steve Hargadon was moderating.
Lucy Gray mentioned Professional Generosity, a phrase she describes in her TedxTalk, and I can’t think of better examples than the people on this panel. I have benefited first hand from each and every one of them, and there are many more examples out there using venues such as Twitter, blogs, websites and webinars, all demonstrating Professional Generosity. Being generous in our field of expertise is not a new thing, but the advent of social media has brought this natural tendency of some people into the light in a powerful way.
There are seven billion people on our planet. That makes seven billion people all breathing in what they see, hear, experience, read…breathing it all in…making sense of it in their own way inside, and then breathing it out as individual expressions in how they live, what they think, and how they act…into work projects and relationships, into ideas, concepts, plans and dreams. We all see the world through our own eyes, so we each make meaning of what we breathe in uniquely. The out-breath of all of that comes in the billions of examples of what we create in all forms, tangible and not… forms of all kind like a garden of infinite variety.
On that out-breath, some people breathe out their new understandings in an open expression of generosity. That is their natural tendency. Not always as some deep need to right a wrong in the world…not always to bring attention, recognition or fame to themselves…but simply as their natural out-breath. They share. They give. They offer.
In this generous out-breath lies the key to many of the problems we find ourselves in, and not only in our education system. What would happen if all teachers and educational leaders demonstrated Professional Generosity? What if all school districts did? What if all organizations and industries did? I wonder where the tipping point would be…in my own school, in my district, in my state, in my profession, in my country…in our world. We have the technology. We have the trailblazers. We have living, breathing examples out there doing it. I can easily do my part. All it takes is a little Professional Generosity intention on the out-breath.