This morning, I've pondered writing the serious academic critique valued in the Academy. And I'm not going to do it. There are far too many (easy) opportunities to find fault with education in general, my academic institution in particular, and, while we're going there, anything and everything. It always seems helpful and instructive to point out what could be better, which, in fact, is the rationalization of choice used by curmudgeons. I'm not arguing whether the commentary of curmudgeons and critics on the human condition has value; I'm just not all that interested in seeing what's wrong today.
Finding the way(s) in which we resonate with our world, so that we can be productive, is one of the goals of education. For many of us, joy and laughter (kin to optimism) are required for maximum productivity. From Norman Cousins' belief in the value of positive thoughts and behaviors on human healing, to the amazing Raspyni Brothers (whose 2002 Ted Talk is laugh-out-loud funny), to myriad poems, cartoons, puns, and ad libs, I need the occasional reminder that combining learning, life, and laughter creates a near-magical confluence of joy and creativity. And therein is the source for taking the next step, forging the next river, climbing the next mountain....and writing the next blog.
Choosing to see the positive in my students, my colleagues, my university, and my life does not mean I am unaware of the ways those things fall short of some ideal. It does means, though, that I believe we make choices about our focus.
Maybe better folks than I can focus on the things that need to be improved without feeling overwhelmed, as it's pretty strong medicine. With that particular strong medicine, a little goes a long way.