This week marks the beginning of the fall season, for those of us living in locales where the seasons do change and the foliage starts to turn colors. It is also the week that will now be unfortunately known in the USA (and abroad) as the week of the government shutdown. Fall is a time of transition, of movement; within Nature, within ourselves. It is a time for taking action, especially as the momentum begins to build, since summer is over. Many of us are back to our more structured routines. Children are in school again and now somewhat acclimated. The days are getting shorter, and people are winding down and looking to take stock of what they have accomplished, as the year draws to a close. This is a time when people often begin the process of implementing positive changes in thinking and therefore in doing. Or so one hopes, considering the way the government shutdown is being executed.
I myself will be on the road for the next three weeks giving my two different Socially Speaking™ Seminars to parents and special education professionals in the Autism community, and iPad Integrators/educational technology professionals in early childhood education around the USA. You can learn more about that here.
As a traveling speaker and nature lover, I tried to execute better work/life balance yesterday and took time to play outdoors, before my emotionally and intellectually exhilarating but physically grueling month (indoors) begins. I landed in Knoxville, TN with plans to go hiking in Smoky Mountain National Park yesterday afternoon, before I enter the lecture circuit, only to discover that it was closed.
So I got on Twitter, only to learn that the government shutdown was officially underway, and that it was affecting us all in unexpected ways. I tried to alert people to the fact that the National Parks were closed. People were literally told to pack up and leave! What is more problematic is the disruptions in healthcare for our most vulnerable and precious commodity; children. Tom Burton, a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal covering the FDA and medicine, alerted people to the fact that due to the NIH closing, “about 30 children” with cancer didn’t get treated there today!
As a child-centric human behaviorist/educator, I was appalled. As someone who lost a mentor and childhood best friend to cancer in December 2012, this was especially disturbing. Especially because October happens to be National Breast Cancer Awareness Month too.
October seems to be rife with quintessential calls to action, why?
I believe it’s no coincidence that so many movements, trade shows, and conferences happen in October across many industries. October is the month before the snows hit in many areas, hampering our ability to move forward and act. However, a deeper look reveals the unique cognitive timing this month provides. It is the month after the school year has begun, when we really start to re-think how to make the world better for the children we know and care for. October is also the month before the official holiday season begins, where we think about our trajectory; past, present, and future. This month has thus spawned many movements; past and present, that collectively attempt to harness man’s quest to collaborate, to learn, to grow, and to harness time.
One such movement is the assistive technology arena-meets-special education arena known as Closing the Gap, an annual international convention in Minneapolis, MN. It was started by parents of a deaf child, Budd and Dolores Hagen 6 years ago. The goal is to promote awareness and explore “the many ways that technology is being used to enhance the lives of people with disabilities”. I am privileged and humbled to partake for the second year in a row, and give three presentations there next week.
Another movement about to debut is the Hack for Big Choices Initiative. It’s a virtual, collective, and entrepreneurial “think tank” forum (unlike the TV show Shark Tank which focuses on individuals) which will launch on October 4, 2013. The day before the two year anniversary of Steve Jobs. Also not a coincidence. The number two in itself connotes collaboration and partnership. I am privileged and humbled to associate and hopefully assist founder Aurora Chisté, a fellow female social entrepreneur on a mission “to unite the talents and passions of people from different disciplines to address a series of global challenges, and promote the culture of innovation to ignite a global community of do-ers”. What is the call to action of every entrepreneur? Aurora knows, and so do you, deep down inside where your inner voice lives…“to make big choices and tackle real problems in communities.”
Movement, migration, transformation, and renewal of the seasons; all signify the journey of Nature, and the built in potential for change. I believe that the capacity for change is an inherent right and outcome of being alive, a divine gift bestowed upon sentient beings. It is necessary for a person’s Theory of Mind, skill set, and legacy, to evolve. The human condition thus encompasses opportunities and experiences for growth, at regular intervals, such as seasons of the year!
We know that stagnant water breeds disease. Stagnant thinking breeds social inertia and prejudice. The properties and characteristics of water; flowing, nurturing, renewing, and cleansing, are all characteristics for the entrepreneur to reflect on, and emulate. The properties of water, including associated words; source, flow, and nourishment, can all be applied to today’s need for innovative thinking, now more so than ever. There are many calls to action that female entrepreneurs can heed in particular, especially in October.
From participating in Hack for Big Choices, to fostering breast cancer awareness, from partaking of National Women in Small Business Month, to getting involved in the aftermath of International Day of the Girl October 11, 2013, there has never been a better time to join the movement for change.
I’m already making my plans to stand up for things I believe in. I hope you will too.