No one is required to change more than those of us who present ourselves as leaders of educational reform and transformation. Why? Because we are required to model the behaviors we want other to adapt.
There is a story of a woman in India who was upset that her son was eating too much sugar. No matter how much she chided him, he continued to satisfy his sweet tooth. Totally frustrated, she decided to take her son to see his great hero Mahatma Gandhi.
She approached the great leader respectfully and said,
Sir, my son eats too much sugar. It is not good for his health. Would you please advise him to stop eating it?”
Gandhi listened to the woman carefully, turned and spoke to her son,
Go home and come back in two weeks.”
The woman looked perplexed and wondered why he had not asked the boy to stop eating sugar. She took the boy by the hand and went home.
Two weeks later she returned, boy in hand. Gandhi motioned for them to come forward. He looked directly at the boy and said,
Boy, you should stop eating sugar. It is not good for your health.”
The boy nodded and promised he would not continue this habit any longer.
The boy’s mother turned to Gandhi and asked,
Why didn’t you tell him that two weeks ago when I brought him here to see you?”
Mother, two weeks ago I was still eating sugar myself.”
Gandhi lived in such integrity that he would not allow himself to give advice unless he was living by it himself.
This is a worthy summer reflection for those of us who give advice to others in the name of educational change.
Note: I will be away for the next week camping at the beach. No electricity. No cell coverage. My best wishes to all for a peaceful and restful week.