“Well, I hope now that he’s been elected, he can live up to that great promise of change that he’s been prattling on about for two years.”
Barack Obama hadn’t even made his acceptance speech last night when comments like this started winding their way through the web, and I wasn’t surprised. Realizing change is a complicated thing and so many of us are desperate to see things happen quickly. But it’s never about what one person can do. Change doesn’t happen when we wait for someone else to deliver it to us. It doesn’t happen when we ask someone else to hand us anything.
In some rather large ways, Barack Obama is the result of change, not simply the agent of it. America knows change. This is hardly anything new for us…..our ancestors invented it. They invested in it too. So while I understand the responsibility that this man has now assumed in leading us forward, I also understand that he can’t MAKE any of us take the steps that WE need to in order to really get the job done well. So much of this remains up to us.
I’m familiar with people who seek change on a much smaller scale. Sometimes, they expect that their leaders are soley responsible for creating that change, and sometimes, they expect people in positions like mine to deliver them resources to make it quick and easy. Waiting to be told what to do and demanding that someone hand us “stuff” to make that happen doesn’t cultivate expertise of any kind, though. It doesn’t build lifelong capacity to do the real work that we need to invest deeply in. It doesn’t create change.
It’s never about one person and their pre-fab set of materials. It’s not about templates or tools or textbooks. We all need to learn how to do what we do better than we are currently doing it, and this can’t happen while we remain seated passively in rows waiting for someone to define new learning for us. It’s going to require a whole lot more, and it’s going to require patience and flexibility too.
No one wise is chanting “Yes, HE can.”
But a few are realizing that WE can. Together.