Saturday, August 13, 2011

Stop waiting for permission

There is a big difference between:

  • If I haven't been explicitly told yes I can - then I won't. 
  • If I haven't been explicitly told no I can't - then I will.

Which one do you expect your children or students to be?

Which one are you?


  1. and it is easier to ask forgiveness than permission

  2. How much simplistic pabulum do you need?

    Do we really want students to focus on how to make make the case that they weren't explicitly told that they couldn't do exactly what it is that they want to do?

    Why not something more like -- and I know this is not reducible to such short simple sentences -- : I have thought deeply about what they mean they they tell me what I can or cannot do, have figured out the principles at play can now judge for myself (using their principles) what I can and cannot do.

    And then: I have understood and experienced their principles, and now work on developing my own principles for figuring out what I may or may not wisely do.



    Both of your formulations take and "us and them" view of the situation. Both say that power and responsibility lie in the hands of others (i.e. "them") and that we can either let them order us around or we can figure out how to work around what they order us to do (or not do).

    Neither call for us act as adults, accept that we ourselves are part of a larger whole and should not be so self-centered as to ignore that role.

  3. If in every cases in your life you wait for permission, then you will never ever come forward in your life.

  4. I appreciate this short and simple post because I believe it helps explain why some teachers aren't afraid to jump into something with both feet while others are content to wait on the sidelines.

    During the interview for my first teaching job the principal asked me what I would do if I went to him with an idea for a project and he blew me off. I told him I'd approach him again. He asked again what I'd do if he blew me off for a second time. I told him if I knew it was something that was really beneficial for kids then I'd move forward even without permission. That answer landed me my first teaching position. He was looking for a confident self- starter. Some people feel like they have to wait for the green light to do things while others of us just do it. I don't have time to wait.

  5. Bethstill,
    great comment, great real life example , Joe you need to add a 3rd way

    teachers need to follow your example - conviction in your beliefs and a commitment to the kids you teach

  6. The article is definitely a good reality check. Things don’t always work out for those who take the leap. But there are many examples of those who DO make it work – though my hunch is that there are many more failures than successes.


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