Every Day Proves Itself. That is my mantra. Yesterday doesn’t matter. Tomorrow never arrives. Today, this moment, that instant — the notion of the immediate now — is the prime drive of the day.
There are those among us that believe past performance matters more than now. I disagree.
We are required to prove ourselves every single day across a thousand nows.
We must be cogent and present and dedicated to making every moment alive instead of just passing time.
If we work — volunteering, or for pay — we must work with every inch of our hearts and every measure of our blood or we risk the inevitability of failure. We cannot become complacent. We cannot expect favors to be done for us in the idea of the overall dedication to a cause. We must be focused and clear and forever on-point.
There is pressure in the every day perception of proof, and some of the more brittle among us bend, break, crack and crumble — and what do we do with them? Do we pick them back into the pieces of what they once were? Or do we sweep them away with the wind, never to be considered or metered again?
We cannot beg or ask for passion and dedication — those are gifts that can only be given — but if they are offered, but never produced, then a sweeping away is the only remedy.
I worked with a theatrical director many years ago, and his motto was, “You must always renew the covenant.” He wanted people to always come back to him and “renew the contract” of their relationship. He wasn’t a very talented director, and his was culturally, socially and sexually confused in uncomfortable, public, ways — and so few people, including me, were inclined to renew the covenant when it was overdue.
I am of the mind today, that if you are in the scheme of the covenant, you are missing the larger context of “Every Day Proves Itself.” No covenants required. No renewables available.
You work each moment of each day, and when you successfully do that — nothing else need be proven, tended, or bartered — because in every instance of every day, the proof is right there in the results of your work.
That’s right. Every day does prove itself. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been writing for the New York Times for twenty years if you aren’t there to cover Barack Obama’s acceptance speech (assuming it was assigned to you, of course.)
Does that therefore mean you are against teachers being basically guaranteed employment after they get tenure as is the case in some places?
Right, Gordon. The status or the meaning of the event does not matter. It is the dedication and the coming through to meet the measure of your promises that matters.
Remember covenants have nothing to do with “Every Day Proves Itself” — you can be king of the world — but if you do not do something every single day for the advancement of your people, you are a failure. Since tenure is a contract, it doesn’t really apply to my argument today.
I will say that I support tenure because it gives instructors the freedom to speak the truth without retribution from those above them. That is a necessary freedom that is unprotected as long as an instructor is on a yearly contract.
For the sort of crushing, institutional, power used to destroy ideas before they can even be expressed, we only need to recently turn to Nebraska’s cancellation of William Ayers:
When I was in high school there was a teacher that had degenerated into an absolute mess. We learned mostly from the text and each other. The teacher couldn’t get fired despite being nearly useless. This is the sort of teacher I fear seeing in office for life despite not having anything to contribute anymore. I do of course appreciate the idea of protecting the freedom to speak the truth, but what do we do about the teachers that just stop caring yet want to continue getting their checks?
Most schools have a way of getting rid of tenured people. It’s a long process that requires a lot of sustained proof, but it can be done. Malfeasance and dereliction of duty are big considerations as well. If a teacher is just average or boring or disinterested — those aren’t good enough reasons to remove the instructor.
Remember tenure usually has three prongs: Teaching, Service and Publishing. So if teachers are terrible in the classroom, they might be spectacular in the other areas that bring money, prestige and international acclaim to the school.
When we continue to learn with every piece of work then we get better at what we do with every passing day. So today’s work is better than yesterday’s and our best work is always in the future and not in the past.
I think our best work is today, Dananjay, because the future is unproven and made of promises.
The future consists of a series of “what ifs” that take on a life of their own that becomes destructive if the work does not get done in the now.
Yes, David. The future is, as you say, uncertain. But if we’ve learned from today’s work, it won’t be our best work for long.
That’s true Dananjay. The minute we finish something we need to be working on the next thing.
We have a phrase in the UK – about “Not resting on our Laurels” – which sums this up very well.
I also have a personal mantra that works along the lines of “If you really want something – every decision and choice you make must be made with that goal in mind”
Fantastic, Nicola, thanks! You’re absolutely right that to rest is to die. We must always be in motion. Even in our dreams.
Yeterday is hitory, tomorrow is mistery, today is a gift – we need to do our best with that gift.
It’s not “what if”, it’s “what now”.
It’s tough to stick to this but helps to achieve the objective, finally.
Right on, Katha! Only this moment matters. Nothing else.
Our all “this moment” make our tomorrow, so get our tomorrow right, we need focus on “this moment” only.
Beautifully said, Katha! That forces us to focus in the “right now” and not just the general “I’m in the now now.”