TEDxOKC: Chris Howard, The 5 Bs of a Real Education

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Session 1a: _________

Chris Howard, President, Hampden-Sydney College (See his biography for more information)

  1. Be yourself. Showing up to school as a 7th grader with a tie everyday. (Reminds me of the Lawrence kids — link to this article). It’s about expressing yourself. Then joined junior ROTC and showed up to football practice in a green ROTC uniform. Odd. “Why are you doing this?” Trying to be serious. Trying to be something. It’s about being myself. No matter where you go to college, people will offer you things you shouldn’t be smoking, drinking, or licking. You must be about being something.
  2. Be humble. Bill Cosby. “I brought you in this world and put you back. And I can make another one of you.”
    Tells his kids, that’s not yours it’s mine. Money. The house. The millennial generation seems to think that they have done something already. But they haven’t. No matter how tall your father or grandfather is, you have to grow. Don’t take credit for things you haven’t earned.
  3. Be accountable. Was told by his Air Force FB coach: Comport yourself in the classroom, like you did in the field. Challenging us to be accountable. Immanuel Kant. What kind of world would we have if everyone carried themselves just like you?
  4. Be courageous. January 17, 1995. [He was an Air Force pilot out on a test flight...] Seeing nuts in the hands of squirrels on the leaves of trees. Plane not cooperating. He ejected. Plane crashed. Ejection had already hurt him. Landing not good. Cleared to fly again 8 weeks later. Why get in a plane again? Thought about all the people who had sacrificed for him to be in the place he was in. Chose to fly again. TED can teach you all types of ideas, but until you step up and do something, it will never get done. It doesn’t have to be physical courage. Be willing to say something. Be willing to raise your hand and make a difference.
  5. Be the change in the world you want to see. Don’t wait. Too many issues in the world to not address. We’ll be in a much better world and a much better place.

What does this mean for libraries?

  1. Yourself: What are we about? What makes us unique? We serve the entire community from birth to death with learning, entertainment, information, and access needs. No other public entity can claim that, I don’t think. We try our best to serve the needs of the entire community.
  2. Humble: Our funding isn’t ours — we are stewards of local, state, and federal tax dollars and grants. We are stewards of gifts, donations, and memorials. How can we do this better? How can we be even more open to the needs of our members in our communities?
  3. Accountable: Again, how best can we meet the needs and be held accountable by our members — by our community?
  4. Courageous: Combatting homeless, illiteracy, hunger, the digital divide, censorship, making better communities, giving teens a safe place and hope, providing a gathering place for the community. I don’t think the library lacks courage. But we continue to need more courage while facing funding cuts. Pundits proclaiming the death of the library. Being called a dinosaur. How can we be even more courageous in reinventing the library and changing the public perception?
  5. Change: Everyone’s favorite word in the library world. But change is happening. How do you want to change it?
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