Catherine's Learning Journal

Lessons from the good doctor

This post is titled “Lessons from the Good Doctor,” but these are not lessons from the good Dr. Catherine Lombardozzi, but from the good Dr. Seuss.

Let’s take a look at the Dr. Seuss bookshelf.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is one of my favorites. I still get quite choked up every year at the line: “Maybe Christmas, he thought, means a little bit more.” The story is about looking beyond all the hustle and bustle to find the real meaning. We can learn that lesson too. We have to look beyond the everyday stress and craziness of working in our field to find the purpose and the impact of our work. There’s nothing more important than being in the business of supporting learning. Our work can be a critical ingredient for our organizations’ success. Business leaders and learners rely on us to support them every day.

In Oh the Thinks You Can Think, Dr. Seuss says, “There are so many thinks that a thinker can think.” This book is about using your imagination. And isn’t imagination one of the most critical skills we can cultivate in our work? New tools, new approaches, new theories… we need to use our imaginations to envision the strategies that will help our organization move forward. “Oh the thinks you can think up if only you try.”

Horton Hears a Who. I love, love, love this story… There are many layers in its message. One lesson is to let your voice be heard. Another lesson to find friends to amplify your one voice. A more subtle message, perhaps, is to work hard to listen to the little voices – which may be the ones around you that tend to be quiet, or, perhaps, the little voice in your head.

Green Eggs and Ham. I totally relate to the grumpy guy that won’t eat green eggs and ham, since I, myself, have a policy against eating anything that’s green. But you gotta admire Sam-I-Am. That character is quite persistent. We need that kind of persistence in our jobs to get others to “give it a try.” As learning leaders, we have to help our organizations move learning in new directions – to take advantage of the power of learning from every which way possible. We need to be persistent.

I Can Read With My Eyes Shut. This book is about always keeping your eyes open for all the things you can learn. “The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Who can argue with that message? It goes well with…

Oh The Places You’ll Go! “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” Conferences and other interactions with smart people and new ideas can recharge you, excite you, help you to think of all the directions you can go. It’s your decision which way you go, what you choose to pursue, and the ways that you want to develop and grow.

So, in the words of the immortal Dr. Seuss… “So… be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Modecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!

 

This post is adapted from a talk I gave at a learning professional conference a number of years ago. I thought it might be a fitting opening post in the Learning Journal blog’s new home. This old rumination came to mind as I was returning from the eLearning Guild conferences in Orlando, and it is dedicated to the many professionals whose presentations and questions have inspired me both this past week and over many years in the field.

 

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