Life changes fast. Sometimes we can see it change before our very eyes, but at other times, we must step back and observe. Consider this fact. Less than a hundred years ago, in my grandparents’ day, many Americans saw some realities in life differently.
Less Than a Century Ago We…
Felt cigarette smoking could provide relief from asthma.
Yep. Advertisers sold packs of cigarettes, telling customers that doctors agreed cigarettes could cure some forms of asthma and could even be helpful during pregnancy. OMG.
Still dressed young boys (up to eight years old) in dresses.
Believe it or not, both boys and girls wore dresses in their early years. Why you ask? Potty training, which took years back then, was much easier in dresses. It makes sense.
Embraced laws that placed deformed people and disobedient wives in asylums.
Evidently, this caught on in Chicago. Citizens offended at ugly people with deformities or wives who contradicted their husbands could have them placed in institutions for rehab.
Positioned corpses upright, so we could take photos of our deceased loved ones.
Because folks had no camera on their phone, pictures were rare. Often, when a loved one died, no photograph had been taken for posterity. So, they did it right there in the coffin.
Dressed in costumes on Thanksgiving not Halloween and asked for candy.
People commonly dressed in masks and costumes on Thanksgiving, many decades ago. Kids went out in costumes looking for candy, until we switched that to Halloween.
Had professional “knockers” tap our windows in the morning to wake us up.
Before alarm clocks (and later smart phones), someone would walk through towns tapping on windows to wake people up for a workday. It was actually a profession folks needed.
Saw airline flight attendants get a “pink slip” once they turned 32 years old.
Believe it or not, airlines once required attendants to have a youthful look. Some let them go when they aged out at 32. I mean—who wants a 33-year-old flight attendant, right?
We chuckle and see those realities as strange and even unhealthy.
Yet, at one time, they were normal. Can you believe that people a hundred years from now will say the same thing about us? Our habits and cultural norms will be outdated as we discover better ways to do life.
Are you ready for more change?
We Need an Epiphany
What changes people are societal progress and epiphanies. We slowly improve our lives, and eventually we recognize that an old way of perceiving things is antiquated. At times, the epiphany comes quickly, and the emotion we feel changes us. People need an epiphany because we are both logical and emotional in our decisions.
I recently listened to a podcast that described a man who weighed 400 lbs. He just kept putting on more weight and nothing seemed to help him lose it.
That is, until he heard he was going to be a father.
That was his epiphany: he suddenly wanted desperately to live long enough to see his kids grow up; get married and have children of their own. Within a matter of months, he lost 200 lbs. And he has kept it off.
I have long been a fan of the “growth process.” By this I mean, people tend to develop over time, not overnight. At the same time, I’m reminded that often, we can experience a spark in our minds that actually does send us in a new trajectory. In 1980, when I was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes, I had an epiphany. My lifestyle, eating habits, sleep habits and daily routines changed. And they remain.
Students can have epiphanies too.
So, while I remain a fan of developmental processes, I remind you today of the power of epiphanies. You need them and so do your students. We can create environments for them to happen, too. While we cannot guarantee anyone will have an epiphany, a good event, with unique content—delivered in a compelling way—can spark one. Events that lead to epiphanies usually:
- Are differentiated from the normal routine.
- Provide clear incentives for a better way of life.
- Make an emotional connection with an audience.
- Offer a new picture of what life can look like in their imagination.
Here’s to you planning some events or encounters that spark an epiphany and lead to positive change in your colleagues or students.
Help Spark Change in Your Students
Book a Growing Leaders Speaker Today
Growing Leaders offers engaging and relevant leadership motivational speakers to help schools and organizations transform everyday students into life-giving leaders. Growing Leaders offers fun and interactive events that are tailor made to keep Generation Y and Z students engaged and inspired while learning important life and leadership principals.
Keynote topics include:
- Generation Z: Instructing the Next Generation
- Free Range Teachers: Building Metacognition in Students
- Marching Off the Map: The Art of Leading Change
- 12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid
- . . . and many more!
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