Fear of Sharing

As my regular readers are aware (and my family shudders about…) I tend to over-share. Everyone pretty much knows everything about me. That’s a decision I made and is my problem; sharing as much as I do may have consequences. I’m willing to live with those.

The talk here is about Open Learning and Open Resources and the like. Now, I’m not an educator, so my apologies to those of you that are. What I’m having trouble with is this over reaching need to protect “My Stuff”. I’m sorry, but there is nothing that you create that hasn’t been created before. Not anymore. This is the world of the Internet.

You may just put a different spin on it or a better spin. You may just be reaching different people that missed it the first time. You are using your gift to help others learn when you share what you know! That’s what I love about the Internet.

I wished my writing was unique. I wished I had something new to say. I wished that people would say, “Wow, listen to what she has to say! Isn’t that amazing” or “I used to know her before she was famous” – things like that. I thought that’s what I needed to be happy. The approval of the masses. Wow. Was I out to lunch on that one! Who did I think I was, really?

I heard today that the stuff you create is what defines you or what defines your institution! Ack! I certainly hope not! I hope that you or your institution is defined by what you give back to the world. That you are defined by the unique gifts you share.

For example: You create a wonderful new way of teaching someone how to do math. You are truly gifted in being able to explain what cannot be explained. Yet you hold that so close to you, only letting those few students in front of you be able to learn your technique. Because you’re afraid that someone will steal your method. Who are you protecting? Certainly not those learners out there that desperately need your gift! You are protecting yourself, your 15 minutes of fame, your idea.

But…what if a place existed that you could share your beautiful gift with hundreds? Even thousands!? If, because of you, all of those people suddenly had access to that kind of understanding of Math? That student that never would have had the chance to see it suddenly has the answer he was looking for and can now move on and share his gift! Bringing math to students that can’t even get shoes let alone access to a school like yours. Wouldn’t you feel good about that – that you were able to reach out to so many!? What would it matter if you weren’t necessarily recognized for that. If you just knew in your heart that you could help someone by sharing your gift?

Ok, maybe I’m over-simplifying and being naive. I know we all need recognition for the work that we do. But, let’s think about the kind of recognition we REALLY need…is it money? is it awards? is it to be published?

Or is it to just know that on our tiny visit to this Earth we made a difference. We may not necessarily know the difference we made in someone’s life. All we know is we did our best to get our gifts out there. We did our best to share what we know. And really, is there anything better than knowing that? To go to your grave knowing that you did everything you could to help someone. That you will be remembered for what you shared not the book you published or the job you did. You will be remembered for your heart…

Sorry, kinda ranting and all over the place today. I just see so much potential in this conference – this room full of educators and people that know so much and have so much to give but are too afraid to share it. Man, what a world it would be if we threw out the pieces of paper that says I’ve got this PhD or that Masters and just reached out to everyone with the learning! Made sure that everyone learned as much as they were willing to learn. That there were no walls in front of them. That they had equal opportunity to be WHO THEY WERE MEANT TO BE….

Wow….I can see it! Can you? 🙂

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