Cory Roush

Dissonance and tension plus reflection and resolution equal intellectual growth

The Impact Mindset

I'm an unapologetic idealist, and some may mutter "naive" under their breath. The way I see it, this may be one of the few times in my life where I can get away with it. But lately I've felt compelled to put into words the mindset that has gotten me through the last two years of my life and, with luck, will guide me into adulthood.

It's 2010, and every man, woman, and child, can change the world.

Alright, quit groaning. I'm not running for President, and I'm not standing two steps down from the spot that Martin Luther King Jr. once made the most important civil rights speech in history.

But if I didn’t honestly believe that my actions could make an impact upon the world, I wouldn’t be trying to limit my use of plastic bags and water bottles. I wouldn’t take the time to transport boxes of paper to the recycling bin. I wouldn’t be putting pressure on my family to carefully consider the kind of food that they purchase and the initiatives they support by eating more locally grown food.

I wouldn’t make a contribution to a charity in times of need.

I wouldn’t smile at the cashier and ask her, “How is your day?” before going about my day.

It would be easy to sit back and say that my actions couldn’t possibly affect the world around me. It’d be easy to look at a floating island of debris twice the size of the United States and just reach for the $2 bottle of water. It’d be easy to look at devastation in Haiti and Pakistan and just throw up your arms, claiming the $50 you can spare just won’t do anything worthwhile. Technology, innovation, and an abundance of knowledge and awareness means that we can make meaningful steps towards a better life.

So why am I posting this? Do I need an ego boost? (Sure, but that’s beside the point.) Do I want a medal for Outstanding Contribution to the Welfare of Others? No. (Not yet.)

I’m posting this because it’s a mindset that every single teacher in the world should adopt. We can’t look at falling test scores, threats of merit pay, or the danger of increased standardized testing and turn to run in the opposite direction. In order to effectively guide the next generation into an often scary, perilous world, we must recognize that even if we only make an impact in one classroom, one school district, or one small town or city, we are still actively seeking to change the world.

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