Responsive Fortune Cookie

Check out other slices each Tuesday at
Check out other slices each Tuesday at

The other day this was my fortune:


Normally I don’t pay much attention to my fortune, not seriously anyway. However, this fortune made me think about who I am and who I’ve been. Immediately I knew that I had the fortune meant for me. I read the words over 3 times and began to analyze the meaning (LOL, I did a close read of the text, but I did not stay within the four corners). I thought about taking a snapshot of it to share with a few friends and coworkers. It made me think about what it means to be strong versus what it means to be responsive.

STRONG. To be strong is to have power. To be strong is to be able to withstand pressure. To be strong is to be powerful and forceful. I think being strong oftentimes means working to win, to outperform, to come out on top.  In strength, there may or may not be action; there may only be a a flexing of brawn or brains with little action.

RESPONSIVE. To be responsive, on the other hand, does not mean being more powerful physically or mentally in a domineering sort of way. Instead, to be responsive means to react, to respond, to answer. To be responsive means to act upon what you’ve experienced in a decisive and positive way. In responsiveness, there is clear action driven by need.

I suppose I could go all Darwinian with this and apply this to adaptation, change, and natural selection, but I do NOT want to be a science teacher, yet I suppose that adapting based on environment is what I do when I am being responsive.

I spent a good deal of my life meeting challenges head on, fighting to conquer, willing myself to be the best.  In retrospect, I think that was the wrong approach.I was working against what I wanted to accomplish, and sometimes this show of strength served only to isolate me.

I used to say, “That’s not a kid you should go head to head with because you’ll never win.” Perhaps the time to go head to head with anyone should happen rarely. Being responsive means, looking at both the details and the bigger picture to assess, react, respond, and answer.  This could take the form of differentiation in responding to what a kid needs. At the same time, this could be how we approach grown ups with whom we struggle, situations that are out of our control, curricula/standards that we may not like, and so much more.

Being responsive is about the response, but it also involves the process of considering how to best respond. To me that is a sort of moral strength–a deeply embedded fortitude. This is not the strength of winning–this is the strength of character that understands that it’s not about winning or losing; instead it’s about meeting each person where he or she is and responding to the person and situation.  And that is about much more than surviving. That is about thriving.

How might I reword the fortune:

Responsiveness moves you beyond survival.

3 thoughts on “Responsive Fortune Cookie

  1. Pingback: Avoiding Train Wrecks | Meandering Maya

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s