Reflections on Reflections – and of All of the Teachers/Mentors in My Past, Present and Future

Today I was honored by a fellow Twitter follower (and someone whom I follow). See her post here about an exchange we had on Twitter yesterday (Thursday).

To start with: I am not deserving.

But I am trying to become so – by both paying it back and paying it forward.

I try to act in the NSPI-ISPI tradition that I’ve grown up in/ was brought up in – I joined NSPI’s local Detroit Chapter in 1979 less than one month out of college – the Michigan Society for Instructional Technology – back in the day when IT meant Instructional Technology and not Information Technology which was then known as MIS – Management Information Systems. And there in Detroit is where I got my first taste of professionals sharing freely with each other. I mean, 3 of us drove 100 miles each way from Saginaw to attend the rubber-chicken dinners and see/hear great speakers!

At NSPI (now ISPI) I was taught, by example, by Geary Rummler and Joe Harless and Bob Mager and dozens and dozens and dozens of others, to share, and not to sell. To teach, and not tease. To share the ideas – and the data that backed up those ideas/experiences.

I also found early on that those folks would take my calls – and lend me their ears and then their thinking about my query. Always!

Of course, it helped that I got pretty active in the Society (committees at local chapters since 1979 and at the parent (National and now International) organization since 1983.

They knew my name or just my face because of that involvement – and I always got in the front row at their sessions and asked my questions either in the session – if I thought it might be relevant to others – or after the session, once any potential buyers of their services had sated their appetites and the path was then clear. If you hung around afterwards they would allow you to walk and talk as they made their way to their next session – or you might get invited to go get a drink instead of that next session.

The conference hotel bar late at night was THE place to hang out for the best learning – for years and years – until as Geary told me (with Bill Deterline in Cincinnati in 2000 in the bar late at night) “we’re getting too old for this late night bar action” when I reminisced about those old days and the action/learning for us observers who sat on the periphery of the bar. It used to be where everyone let their hair down and debated with each other what each other was talking about. They’d argue and do a little name calling and then laugh and order another drink.

A funny aside: Geary was receiving an award from ABA/OBM – and in his acceptance speech he commented that everything he knew about psychology he learned from Dale Brethower in bars late at night – so if there was a test associated with this award he’d like to have the lights turned down. It was: The Life Time Achievement Award from the Organization Behavior Management Network in 1999.

 I learned so much from all of these people – things that I discover “from whom” every once in a while (such as on that new Thiagi audio podcast where a comment he made caused me to instantly recall that it was HE who had taught me that back in the day!). It happened years ago with Dale Brethower – causing me to go into my basement files when back at home and dig out those handouts!

I’ve personally been very bad at recalling and crediting my teachers/ mentors/ colleagues and friends. Most, but not all, I met from my involvement in NSPI and then ISPI. I read their writings and/or listened to them at conferences – and then parked it in the back of my mind and then dragged it out to apply when I thought it . And I typically forgot who to credit and who to thank.

My bad.

Jenise – you are worthy. And you are certainly doing a better job than I in giving credit to me and to others (I’ve been reading your posts/tweets). Now if I could only recall who taught me what I was tweeting about in that series yesterday – on ROI and that not every identified need – that could be addressed – should be addressed. Then I could be on the long path to worthiness as someone who gives credit where credit is due.

Thank you very much for your kind words. We are all standing on the shoulders of many before us. There is nothing new under the sun. But what we know we should share – for the good of us all.

I hope to see you at a professional forum soon! Or – we can just chat on the phone until then!

Cheers! And best wishes on your continued success, and sharing!


2 comments on “Reflections on Reflections – and of All of the Teachers/Mentors in My Past, Present and Future

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