Sunday, September 20, 2009

Last but not least-- Randy Pausch

As the audience stood for an ovation that signaled the end of Randy Pausch's Last speech, I immediately switched tabs to post a link on my blog to this video because I believe that everyone in every discipline should watch this man tell his story. I wish that I knew a more appropriate word than "inspiring" to describe the emotional response I felt while listening to him speak of his achievements, experiences, challenges, and the lessons he learned along the way.

Throughout his lecture, Randy Pausch related his experiences back to a few main philosophies that included what he called "head fakes... brick walls... and seeing the good in people." He first used football to define a "head fake". He says that people don't enroll their kids in football to learn a three point stance, forward pass plays, or field goal kicking skills. They enroll their children to help their kids learn bigger, more applicable character skill-sets like team work, strategizing, work ethic, etc. Essentially, for the kids its about the game, but for the grown-ups they will become, its about the skills they gained from playing it.

I really appreciated his philosophy about "brick walls". It was significant for me because as I watched this video I became more and more humbled. It made me reflect on how my academic laziness as a youth has become a self created obstacle for the goals I am striving for now. Simultaneously, it helped me to realize how important my hopeful career is-- the ealier I can help my students realize how important it is to ALWAYS put forth their best effort in everything they do, the less self made hurdles they will have to jump over later in life. I look at Randy and see everything he has done in his life and with a deep exhale I say, "Wow." However, it was when he showed us a photo of his childhood room which he painted in high school that I realized my forementioned brick wall. He had the confidence to write equations on his wall and paint elevators to no where. He was free to be himself at an age when (I presume because of my own experiences) most kids struggle to conform and become each other.

The last of the three most repeated philosophies that he shared with us, was that if you wait on somebody long enough, they will surprise and impress you. Look for the good in everyone, and if its hard to spot quickly, wait. I think this statement needs no more explaining. It only needs an open heart to recieve and live it.

***Notes, Questions and Quotes
1.) "Your critics are the ones who tell you they love you and care. You're in the most trouble when you see that you are doing wrong, and no one is telling you."
2.)"Experience is what you get when you don't get what youy wanted."
3.) I liked his acknowledgement of Captain Kirk's success as a leader regardless of his lack of specified skills.
4.)"The brick walls are there to show us our dedication/ how bad you want something."
5.)"The best gift an educator can give is to get somebody to be self reflective."
6.)"Get a feedback loop and listen to it."
7.)"Are you a tigger or an Eeyore?"
8.) Who is Andy Van Dam?
9.) Look up Caitlin Keller at Washington University (?) and her progress with integrating Alice into middle schools.

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