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What You [and Others] Can Do

I recently published an IAE-pedia document titled, What You Can Do (Moursund, 2016). The title comes from the What You Can Do section found in each of the hundreds of IAE Blogs that I have written.

The essence of this new document is summarized by two quotations at the beginning:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” (Margaret Mead; American cultural anthropologist; 1901–1978.)

“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man [all people].” (John F. Kennedy; 35th President of the United States; 1917-1963.) [Bold added for emphasis.]

Here is the introductory section of the document:

A recurring theme in IAE-pedia documents is that each of us is both a lifelong teacher and a lifelong student. For example, every time you have a conversation with another person, you are serving in both teacher and student modes. The person or persons you are talking to learn from you. You learn through the process of formulating and communicating your thoughts—this requires using both your cognitive and physical capabilities.

This What You Can Do document has two main purposes:

1.   To help you to become more routinely engaged in activities that help to improve both the education of other people and your own personal education.

2.   To encourage and facilitate your becoming more actively engaged in addressing problems that might impact the quality of life of yourself and others, problems such as sustainability.

“Complaining” Versus “Doing Something About It”

In our daily lives, most of us encounter “situations” that we find disturbing and that tend to make us unhappy. When this happens to you, perhaps your first thought is, “Why don’t they do something about it? Perhaps you remember the famous quote from the Pogo comic strip, “We have met the enemy—and he is us” (Kelly, n.d.). We are all part of the “they” who might do something to work to improve the situation that we find disturbing.

Many of us find it much easier to complain than to actually do something more productive. The What You Can Do IAE-pedia document presents ideas and examples about actually doing something. Recent years have brought us the Web, a powerful resource both in taking individual action and in getting the help of others (Moursund, 9/24/2015; 5/12/2015; and 5/2/2014).

What You Can Do

Starting today or tomorrow, pick a recent example of a situation in which you thought or openly asked, “Why don’t they do something?” Think carefully about what you, personally can do about this situation. Then:

  1. Take a personal action. Use some of your personal time and resources to help alleviate the situation.
  2. Share your thoughts and action with one or more other people—perhaps like-minded friends. Engage them in a dialog about what you have done and seek help in getting others to think about appropriate actions.

Repeat this activity as your time and resources permit. Perhaps you will want to set aside a time each week in which you reflect on the fact that “I, personally, did something that makes a difference!”

References and Resources

Kelly, W. (n.d.). Pogo comic strip. Wikipedia. Retrieved 4/16/2016 from

Moursund, D. (4/16/2016). What you can do. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 4/16/2016 from

Moursund, D. (2/5/2016). Quality of life. IAE Blog. Retrieved 4/16/2016 from

Moursund, D. (9/24/2015). A personal challenge: Turning educational research results into effective practice. IAE Blog. Retrieved 4/16/2016 from

Moursund, D. (5/12/2015). Improving precollege education: Don’t just complain—Do something positive. IAE Blog. Retrieved 4/16/2016 from

Moursund, D. (5/2/20214). Hungry children—America’s shame. IAE Blog. Retrieved 4/16/2016 from

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Saturday, 17 April 2021

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