After years in educational publishing, I began to see a pattern. The philosophy of the day would swing from open classroom and individualized instruction to high-structure and rote learning. It would take about ten years, then the pendulum would swing back again.
The swing was regular and predictable in every subject area. People jump in, change everything, and convert as if to a new religion. Then around year 6 or 7, folks would see how the new philosophy wasn’t meeting every student’s needs for learning. A rumbling would happen and the pendulum would swing again.
You’d think eventually we’d find that spot where things get level. The kids who learned with practice would get that structure and the kids who needed expression would have lots of room to discover. Seems they might even teach each other. Instead we keep arguing about which is better.
It’s not just a problem in education.
Pendulums swing through human things — huge and inconsequential. We take on new ideas and overdo them. We make them bigger than what they’re replacing. Is that insecurity or evangelism?
The Relationships and Commerce
Every writer, every architect, every business leader knows that lasting ideas balance structure and expression in dynamic tension. A musical masterpiece is both technical excellence and artistic genius. Classic design is simple and elegant. Just recall your favorite building . . . that’s still standing. The structure holds it up and the expression makes it worth entering.
A powerful business values its tangible assets and its relationships. Earning revenue is a critical value — as is investing in the people and partners who make that revenue happen. Potent business plans balance history and certainty with vision and possibility. Relationships and commerce are better together.
Dynamic tension is always present in work of lasting value.
It’s my birthday. I’m reflecting.
Do you see dynamic tension or folks caught in a pendulum swing?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz!!