Tuesday, November 27, 2012

You Can't Always Get What You Want

No, you can't always get what you want
No, you can't always get what you want
No, you can't always get what you want
But if you try sometime, you just might find
You get what you need -- Rolling Stones

Yes, I am going to a concert during the final tour of the Rolling Stones!  How timely of them to schedule these concerts, and of them to provide the backbeat to my post.  Thank God I am married to a man who recognizes the significance of these moments!

Thanksgiving has come and gone, leaving me with a deep level of gratitude and a clear understanding of what it means to "get what you need."  The tug between getting what you want and getting what you need is a reality.  And, becoming peaceful with that tug is the beginning to really, REALLY getting what you NEED.

First of all, you CAN do something for some New Yorkers who have lost homes and belongings.  Go to:  or  the Sandy Relief Fund at   or any other site you might find.

Back to that tug...
I have been reading The One World Schoolhouse   Education Reimagined (Salman Khan, inventor of the Khan Academy).  How he created the "Academy" and his understanding of education and learning are very, very inspiring and exciting.  But about that tug;  "Normal is what you're used to."  That is somewhat of a profound statement.  I know it is true, and that people have created their lives around that statement.  And, the killer is that "normal" is what sets the expectations that trips one up when trying to step into a new experience.

Sal says that the educational system that we know is "so complexly integrated with other aspects of our culture that it's daunting to imagine a world without it." (61)  And further in the chapter called Questioning Customs he says "the idea that college is needed for everyone in order to be productive members of society is only a few decades old."  And, then "why should it prove so difficult to design a school that would teach both skill and wisdom, or even better, wisdom through skill?  That's the challenge and the opportunity we face today." (69-70)

Normal is what we are used to.  Expectations can trip us up.  Is college, as it is now, the best option for everyone?  Can daydreaming about what it would be like to be a college student bring some of those expectations down to Earth?  Harlen says in The Naked Roommate, "Students are rarely told the truth about college life." (39)  He goes on to explain that although most of the college experience is amazing, a small but robust part can be unexpected or not be in line with students' expectations.  And, students may find themselves putting a disproportionate amount of time and energy into dealing with these unexpected aspects.  Or, they might just shut down or resort to fitting in.

Do you remember the gift you got that turned out to be not the gift you thought it was?  It was still a gift, but not the gift you were expecting.  Its potential was dashed from the moment you ripped the wrapping paper off and saw it wasn't what you thought it was.  It could have been just want you really needed, but it wasn't what you wanted.

Expectations can really get in the way.  An A-student in high school may find that isn't going to happen anymore in college, at least not right away.  Someone who has never shared a room, and loudly stated that having a roommate would be a piece of cake finds himself tongue-tied when trying to explain that his roommate's music is disturbing his studying.  Sitting in a lecture with 600 or 10 other students feels really uncomfortable, despite the beautiful glossy pictures of happy students on the college website.

But, all that may be required is some practice and learning to not put that unexpected gift into the trash or the drawer so quickly.  You can't always get what you want; but if you try some time, you might just find, you get what you need...

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