Who Do I Want to Be?

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(First I would just like to mention that this is post #200!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’VE DOUBLED MY ORIGINAL GOAL OF 100 DAYS OF BLOGGING!!!!!!)

In other news, I finally started reading “The Falconer” by Grant Lichtman today (I’ve only actually had it for a few days, but I just started today.) I’m only on page 20, but even just those first few chapters got me thinking a lot.

Step -1: Who Do I Want to Be? Told the story of the first day of school with Mr. Usher and the Children in his class. He is not a traditional teacher in the Children’s eyes because he started the first day of school with the class sitting outside and him asking the Children to help him decide what to teach. The Children were very confused, but they didn’t argue with Mr. Usher or even ask any questions.

Mr. Usher starts by asking everyone “to think of at least one person who you really respect, someone you admire” (page 16). (I would like to take a moment to point out that while I wanted to share the page number, I quite specifically did not want to source the quote with MLA format because the truth is that I believe many people wouldn’t know what to do if I wrote it that way. I also think it goes to prove that you can convey the same information in many different ways and still get the point across, so should the focus in writing really be on exact formatting, or should it be about conveying information in an understandable way?)

When I read this quote in the book, I immediately wanted to stop and ponder on the comment for myself before continuing further into the story. I feel like I’m always being asked “who is your hero?” “who do you admire most?” “who is your role model?”… My issue though is that I can never think of someone.

It isn’t that I hate the world and I don’t think anyone is good enough, but it is quite the opposite; there are a lot of people with different traits I admire, but I can’t pick one trait over another to choose a single person. Now I’m not trying to say that people that can pick out one individual are very one sided or anything like that, but I just really don’t understand how to pick. My mind just doesn’t work that way where I can pick someone and commit to it.

In ID we actually came up with the “Anya Problem/Dilemma” which basically is the problem of being interested in too many things to the point where you can’t decide on just one path, so you get spread out really thin over a variety of topics. I think this applies to the “who is your hero” struggle as well.

When I continued to read the story, I found that this was part of the list generated by the Children and recorded by Mr. Usher:

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Mr. Usher concludes his lesson by saying that the Children have helped him decide what to teach this year. He will teach them how to be “self-confident, helpful, visionary, caring, creative, fair, courageous, patient, and all of the other things on the list”(page 18). There are two things I love about this:

1) Mr. Usher specifically says, “of course, I’m going to teach you math and science and history and all of the rest. Those are some of the tools we all need to become like the people we admire and respect. But we have to remember that knowledge is just one of our tools. If we want to grow up to be like people we admire, we have to learn much more than math and science and history” (pg. 19).  Mr. Usher is acknowledges that he will teach the “standard” material, but his goal is much larger than that and it includes preparing the Children for the life that they aspire for.

2) Mr. Usher doesn’t say that he wants to teach each Child individually the skill that they found admirable in a person; he wants to teach all of the Children all of the skills. Just because one hero comes to mind, that doesn’t mean that they have to be your only role model in life because you need all of these skills to be successful in a way that allows you personally “to be admired for the same reasons you admire these people” (pg. 18).

This reminds me of the Divergent trilogy. (I’m going to try to be really vague to avoid spoilers.)

At the beginning of the series being divergent is considered dangerous and even bad because it means you don’t have one thing that you conform to, you don’t have one skill set that defines you. However, as the series goes on, as a reader, you discover that divergent people are strongly needed in a society to demonstrate how different skills can work together to form the best solutions.

The people that aren’t divergent are needed too though. You need some people that are very proficient at one skill such as people that are specifically well trained at fighting, or working on computers, or communicating with people, or making decisions, or creating peace.

Divergent people are able to make connections between different skill sets, but without the help of specialized people that are really advanced at what they do, they never would have been able to make positive progress in their community.

This same logic goes with the idea of leaders and followers. Here is a fact: not everyone can lead at the same time. For there to really be a leader, some people must be followers, AND THAT ISN’T BAD! It is perfectly okay to be a follower because they are needed! Ya, crating good leaders is something that is needed in the world, but I think there are times where we as a society focus so heavily on creating leaders that we forget about how a team consists of many followers too, and the goal is to form a successful team. A good leader has to be able to lead a team obviously, but what makes a good follower–a good member of the team that may not be “the leader”?

Leaders can often be followers and followers can be leaders at times too, one word can never fully describe a person. The important thing is to realize that both are needed.

We need leaders and followers; divergent and specialized thinkers; and many, many heroes will be needed to capture all of the great skills we admire in people.

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