Inspiring Paradigm Shifts

“Don’t underestimate the power of your vision to change the world. Whether that world is your office, your community, an industry or a global movement, you need to have a core belief that what you contribute can fundamentally change the paradigm or way of thinking about problems.” ~ Dr. Leroy Hood, MD, PhD., American Biologist

Do you believe what you can contribute to the world can fundamentally change it? If not, what would it take to change your paradigms about yourself and your purpose in the world? The youth in the GEN2050 Alumni program are inheriting a world filled with complex problems from the global level down to the local level.  My hope is that some of them will come to believe their vision of the future can become actions fundamentally changing their world for the better.

How are we attempting to influence them to believe they can? Number one, we are providing them with experiences challenging their current paradigms. Last Saturday, we challenged the paradigm: “what I don’t want anymore is garbage”. Instead, we explored how something we are ready to discard can be recycled, reused, or repurposed. Using pumpkins and gourds from Trinity Church’s Rendezvous FamFest, we created planters, planted seeds in them, and placed them in the Trinity Urban Garden. Cuttings from the pumpkins and gourds went into the compost bin. The pumpkin seeds were roasted in the oven later at my house. My husband prepared three flavors: salted, cinnamon sugar, and spicy hot! They were really tasty.

Number two, as program mentor-instructors, we have chosen to become co-learners with them.  We listen, take notes, and participate whenever one of the instructors or guest speakers are presenting.  We ask questions and acknowledge when we are uncomfortable with a new experience.  And we listen to them.  We are intentionally creating a learning environment where we can learn, try, make mistakes, and try again.  We are open to changing our own paradigms to become world changers!

Just recently, I listened to a TEDTalk given by Mallence Bart Williams.  What she had to say challenged some of my paradigms. In her TEDTalk, Ms. Bart Williams addressed some common paradigms about charity.  Possibly, her talk will challenge a paradigm of yours.

(photo credits: Deon Gedeon, Miami, Florida, November 2017.)

About Linda Freeman

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Linda Pulley Freeman combines her specialized training in environmental and chemical engineering with her deep ministerial commitment as she serves mission fields at home and abroad.

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