Man In The Mirror

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“I’m starting with the man in the mirror…” – Michael Jackson

I am fortunate enough to have three parents. All three studied teaching and communication; and became teachers. All of them have done their jobs well and improved many children’s lives – well over the course of 10 years…

All three of my parents have taken their jobs very seriously and everyone in their immediate environment knows them for upholding the principles of their profession. I may not work with them on a daily basis but I have heard only good things about them. Now this brings me to this questions: “Is that you? Do you take pride in your  profession/job to the point that you have no doubt when you go to sleep that you’ve done your level best?”

If your answer is NO – I suggest you do either one of these two things:

  1. STOP doing what you do and do what you’re passionate about; or
  2. START doing your level and utmost best!

As mentioned above my mother is a subject advisor. For those who don’t know what that is – she goes to assigned schools in her district nearly every day of the working year to upgrade their quality. She assess their development and assists schools in their subject of expertise. They liaise with the headmaster and subject HOD of the schools and look at the individual and collective issues faced by the departments and the school. It sounds like the perfect system; right? Well – it’s not 🙃

Today my mother came home with two remarkable stories that were completely different in their impact in the mindset I have in connection between the education system in this country and ones purpose. She went to two schools in the same district. So let me paint a proper picture as to what she observed.

3kms away from CBD area and is considered more or less upscale.Considered deeply rural and lower in rankings of pupils’ chosen enrolment.
Pupils were found sitting outside of the school premises at 8am as a result of the principal not completing requests to the Department Of Public Works.Pupils are in classes with necessary teachers, study material and lesson plans in place.
Principal has no idea where her 2017 Timetable for her school and her subjects is.Principal has a clear indication of his individual subject timetable; the overall school’s timetable and the Year Planner is already laminated and posted on the wall.
Principal has no idea where her 2017 Lesson and Objectives Plan for her subject is.Principal has a file drafting all Lesson and Objectives Plan for 2016 and 2017 as there are notes to continue his plans on the past years’ developments.
Principal has no real idea of the short and long term consequences of her actions are as she has nothing to produce to the Department as “reports and feedback”.Principal explains that their only hindrance is the fact that the school is still working on a paper-based system and wants better technology than his 3 state-of-the-art photocopy machines.
Principal has no idea how many students were registered in 2017 alone and provides no documentation for it.Principal knows every student enrolment off by heart and knows the percentages of the pass rates of the high schools in his area.

The real question then becomes – “Which school do you enrol your child in?”

Ah, you want to say School B but the truth of the matter is that you probably wouldn’t. Only a few people find it highly important to ensure that the people providing educational services value the service itself. These principals are not the only people who work in these schools but they do determine the success and failure rates of pupils. The school, the district and ultimately the province. We do not spend enough time injecting the idea of purpose, passion and determination in the person who runs the actual system on the ground but expect miracles of note at the end of the school year.

This does not only apply to schools and principals – it applies to failing departments in companies, managers in low ranking stores and even demotivated public health care providers. We have hundreds of thousands of people who sit in jobs they don’t care about and jobs they are demotivated by. These people feed their passion-less woes to the children who will later on run this country. Maybe I’m being idealistic but I genuinely don’t want to live in a passion-less society and neither do I want my children to think the world was invented to speak about the pulp of a sour fruit or the ‘sinful throws’ in a Danielle Steele book.

Many years ago my father gave himself five years to make it big in the gospel music industry. He resigned at the college where he taught Communication Science and moved to Johannesburg. He had a wife and children to feed and take care of (God willingly he was able to do it) but it took long years and ardour to do so.

Today – ten albums, many business ventures and a book later – he can safely say he is living out his purpose and dream. He sleeps at 2am nearly every night and travels all over the world because of that one fact –  it is his purpose and dream. The principal at School B is achieving outstanding results every year and is being mentioned among the greatest influencers in his community because his purpose is being lived out on a daily basis too! This then means that there is absolutely NO excuse for bad public service, or for demotivated employees and even passion-less communities.

It’s ironic though, because it’s taken me so many years to realise the importance of purpose. I’m very unfortunate, seeing as some people never wake up to that realisation. Personally I’ve decided to take each day as an opportunity to live out my purpose. Each day is an opportunity to ensure that I’m closer to my dreams and aspirations. I want my children someday to be able to do the same because I was a good example. Like Michael Jackson said: “I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways.”

It really is the only way to live a more fulfilling life on a daily basis.

SO… if you are in a field you have no interest in – GET OUT!

If you want to do more – START…today!

If you’re doing what you are passionate about – KEEP AT IT.

This is the stuff that great communities and great countries are made of.

*This blog post was originally published on 9 Feb 2018, here on the insideWomen Blog

Yours in inspiration,
Nongcebo Hlongwane

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2 Comments on “Man In The Mirror

  1. Great piece NoNgcebo, they say best performing countries are consistent and do best what they can… very inspiring

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