I remember a few years ago, my daughter was doing some math homework and needed help. Those of you who know me are now laughing, because coming to me for math help may not have been her best decision. That being said, I felt confident about being able to help my then 10-year-old on her 4th grade work.
I looked over the problem, full of the confidence and bravado of an adult about to extol wisdom upon his child.
“But Dad, that’s not the way you do division; you do grouping.”
I thought to myself, “Grouping? what the hell is grouping?”
I knew at that moment; we were in trouble.
She was right, of course, the way we do math had changed, for that matter so have so many things.
Do any of you remember the process you used to have to go through to make sure you weren’t paying through the nose to place a long-distance call? You had to choose a long-distance carrier, make sure you punched in the right code, only call during certain times, and pray that you read all the fine print right? Or what about when you needed to find out who the 24th President was? Maybe, if you were lucky, your parents had bought the Encyclopedia Britannica and you could go to that drooping shelf in the living room and look it up, or if you weren’t so lucky, you had to trudge to the library and deal with the dreaded card catalogue.
So yes, in life, the way we approach problems, and the way we come to conclusions has changed dramatically – but the questions, and the problems are still there. It’s the same thing in the field of educational and therapeutic consulting.
I’ve always said that consulting is really all about connections. Not only connections with program and school people but also connections with your clients. Many years ago, really the only way to effectively connect with programs was to spend weeks on the road trudging around your own version of a filing system so that you could take copious notes. One had to spend hours trying to figure out directions to some of the most remote places in the country all the while worrying if your new client was struggling at her new program, or what time you were going to get back to your hotel room so you call your office’s answering machine mail to see how many messages you missed and how many phone calls you needed to make before preparing for tomorrow’s adventure.
Today, we are able to complement the visits we do to programs and clients with face to face chats utilizing FaceTime and Skype. We can easily set up informational meetings with colleagues, schools or programs utilizing programs like GoToMeeting. And, because of the advent of smartphones and tablets, we are able to take our office on the road with us and organize our information in ways which were unimaginable just a few short years ago. As far as staying connected? Well, I don’t need to go into how connected we ALL are these days!
So things have changed, yes. And while it seems more complicated now, I actually think it’s a bit easier. With all of this technology I know my office (which is silenced in my pocket) is taken care of, my other clients can reach me if needed, I can easily check messages, and if I get lost getting to the next client meeting or program, I always have Waze or Google maps. All of this allows me to be present during my meetings and focus on the now; I actually find myself much more centered and focused.
Sure, the old way worked, and there are countless IEC’s who did amazing work under those circumstances. However, just like so many other things in our world, while the new way is tough to wrap our heads around and kind of tough to accept, in the end, if used correctly, is more efficient and easier.
It was Grover Cleveland, by the way. I know it’s been bugging you for a while now; I just asked Alexa…