My boys can typically be found in the backyard playing football with all of the other kids in the neighborhood. However, today it was raining, so they were inside tossing a football around. They decided to put together a target net to practice their aim. One boy began reading over the directions, while another one used the picture on the box as a guide. When they started tossing the footballs into the net it kept falling over. They quickly realized they missed something and had to take a look at the design to figure out what went wrong. I returned to see they had used a chair and string to keep the net balanced. I was impressed and immediately asked whose idea it was. They looked at each other and shrugged and went back to tossing the ball.
They didn’t care who came up with the idea, they were just happy it worked.
Their satisfaction was based on the fact that they had solved their problem.
How often are we focused on who came up with an idea? I can guarantee that every idea I have ever had as been sparked or shaped by someone else. Very rarely, does one come up with, and carry out an idea solely on their own. Think about how often you reach out to your PLN. I am always inspired by conversations with these amazing educators. Their ideas spark new ideas for me and push my thinking to new levels.
I was recently sharing with a group of teachers about a global connection project a teacher was doing with her 5th-grade students. One woman was very quick to share that she had already seen that idea on Pinterest, almost in a way that was trying to discredit the work this teacher had done. These 5th-grade students were motivated to write and create blogs, they were developing better communication skills, and learning about different cultures. These experiences and the learning taking place is what is important, not who came up with the idea.
Think about how much better an idea can become when others have an opportunity to add to it. It reminds me of a rubber band ball. Each person adds to the idea and it just keeps growing. This summer we will host our second countywide conference and because of the ideas of others, it is growing into a better event. We will reach more people, provide experiences that meet different needs and create new learning opportunities. When we are willing to put all of our ideas together we usually end up with something far greater than we could have come up with on our own.
Sometimes the best ideas are the ones that pass through the most hands.