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Courage

July 20, 2011

Happy Wednesday! I hope your day is going well, dear readers. It finally feels like summer here in the Bay Area, which is actually a nice change from the cold (at least in my opinion). Today I just want to write a little bit about courage as I’ve been thinking about it a lot and want to hear your thoughts on courage and your work. Let me explain.

Most people would probably agree that courage is a positive attribute or characteristic to possess. Two of my favorite quotes about courage are from Ernest Hemingway and Ruth Fishel, respectively. Hemingway wrote that “courage is grace under pressure” and Fishel wrote that “courage is fear that has said its prayers.” What I like about these quotes is that they remind us that it’s not an all or nothing proposition when it comes to courage. We can still be scared and worried when we are courageous. Courage is not, then, some super-human feat of perfection. It completely works in with my “fake it ’til you make it” approach to a lot of things in life.

So why am I thinking so much about courage lately?

Three reasons:

  1. It is summer quarter which means I have time to breathe and actually reflect instead of simply running around trying to keep up with day-to-day stresses of the regular academic year.
  2. This reflection has led me to ponder how I can foster more courage in my students to stand by their own goals in their education and life. How can we foster courage?
  3. I also wonder how I can have more courage to boldly challenge, share, and implement ideas, research, and projects that may be challenging to my current work and colleagues.

It can be difficult to be courageous and also difficult for some to separate being courageous from being pushy or foolhardy. Perhaps, it comes down to creating an environment that is supportive and encourages people to speak up and share what could be unpopular ideas. Maybe that’s the classroom–it’s a training ground for being both respectful and courageous and through these experiences we (both teachers and students) can be courageous in our work, in our sharing, and in our lives.

Or maybe I’m just over-thinking things and others feel that they are courageous enough in their work and are, for lack of a better term, “change agents” who actually get things accomplished in ways that bring people, ideas, and projects together.

Let me know what you think in comments.

That’s all I really have to share today. Let’s end with today’s great comic strip by xkcd. It *so* reminds me of the craziness with metadata standards.

standards by xkcd

standards by xkcd

Have a wonderful day and I’ll be back on Friday with the usual round up of tech news and notes to share with your family, friends, and archives/library patrons. Allons-y!

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