Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Values We Place

Today in the first section of class, we spoke about the types of leadership and how the idea of a leader has changed throughout time. We especially focused on the idea of young women in leadership. We studied how in the past the idea of leadership was limited to the "Great Man Theory", which states that a man is born a leader, and to be great. We studied how through the years different theories of what constitutes a leader has changed. In the past, they also attributed specific traits to being a  leader, like strength, being tall, or a man. Throughout the years, the idea of leadership has changed by things you cannot change, to emotional intelligence and competence. The model of leadership has also changed from a visual strong leader to a servant type of leader. It is inspiring to see where we have come from. It is amazing how much value we have put on specific attributes people possess or do not possess; what constitutes an important thing from an insignificant thing. 

In the afternoon class, we watched Malala's speech, an education activist that was shot in the face by the Taliban. She spoke about how little we think about  the power of a book and a pen. She said the Taliban is afraid of their power. I had never truely considered the power that education holds, I had never placed as much value on education as that of food or water. She spoke about how much value education gives to people. It was a wonderful and empowering speech. 

We also did a fishbowl activity which was a very powerful activity that brought a lot emotions to me specifically. First off, a fishbowl activity consists of a closed group of people who speak their opinions and a separate group that only listens to what the group has to say. The part that brought up emotions in me was that we were separated into our groups by our socioeconomic status. I couldn't understand why after telling us how those things shouldn't matter, they used it to separate us. I felt angry and picked on, and segregated. We then switched from being in the circle to the outside where we listened to others. At the end, we were only allowed to state exactly what someone else had said that stuck out to you. The aspect of someone else saying your words was strange. It didn't feel like I had said it when it came from another person's voice. It reminded me that sometimes we need to listen to ourselves and take it into consideration. It also taught me the importance of having other people truly listen to you. 

After the activity I told the class that I was upset to have been divided by our socioeconomic staus and that it contradicted everything we had been learning about the fact that it doesn't matter. Others were upset to have been picked out, excluded, and grouped. Dean Almandrez then told us that the activity was to show us how that the things that define us (race, class, religion, age, sex) are not in and of themselves seen as problems. It was the value we had placed on them. Class shouldn't matter. It should be okay to talk about these things without being offended or discriminated against. It reenforced the idea that the things we value so much are actually trivial without the amount of value we place on them. 

After class, I finished my Action Plan essay. It was nice to be finished with getting my ideas onto paper. I now just have to edit it and practice my speech.  

Following dinner, we went to the scholarship program meeting. We spoke about college, got commended for being at brown, and got to ask questions about anything we were wondering about. It was nice to hear Brown students' advice and receive counseling from them. They spoke a lot about not letting money keep you down from a college. They told us about their success stories despite their status and it was nice to hear people like me had been able to afford college without even having loans. It reenforced the theme of the day: the value we put on things. They said to not worry so much about money, it's not the thing that matters in the world. It was amazing to think how much value we place on money in applying to colleges, but in all actuality, it is not that important. Do not place so much value on such trivial things, just do what will be the best for you and the common good.
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