If we believe that change can start with individuals, how often can we move conversations regarding a concern into opportunities to engage further in solutions and broader change?  How can we help problem-solving lead to supporting changes in conditions that may have created or sustained the issue or problem? Do we look for opportunity in questions to inform and share different perspectives?  Do we engage enough in partnerships or in a collective way to seek solutions together?

I recognize that some conversations start with specific concerns and need specific strategies to address.  But in our busy schedules do we miss opportunities to help others realize the role that they could have to impact further problem-solving, change, or decision-making—whether a student, parent, teacher, community member?  We are all busy…..but are there other barriers too?

I also recognize that some conversations simply serve a need to vent.  A solution is not really necessary in an immediate way.  And this is okay.  But, if we are listening, venting can reveal misunderstandings about why something is in place and where the decision originated.  More opportunity….

As frustrating as it may be, we may only interact or have conversations with some individuals because of a concern or problem at hand.  So while we may listen and take steps to help solve the immediate problem, should we also remember as much as possible to see if there is an opportunity to continue the conversation at a later date to engage and empower individuals in proactive change that is needed?

Just as I was writing these thoughts, I saw an interesting quote shared in a tweet, “All solutions are in the very words by which people hide and confuse their problems.” (M. McLuhan, in The Executive as Dropout).  I am going to think on that one some more. In the meantime, I hope to be more on the lookout for examples of how proactive and positive change started with a conversation, concern, or question from someone.  I welcome others to share their experiences – whether you took the lead in this, or someone else helped you become more engaged in creating solutions and change in education or in your community.