When I was a child, my father would come into my room most mornings and ask me to choose which tie he should wear with the suit he had on that day. He usually brought two ties into my room from which I could choose. As I got older, sometimes I felt that neither choice was ideal, and I’d head over to his tie rack to suggest a better option. I adored my dad, and I took my job helping him with his ties quite seriously.
As a humane educator, my job now includes offering other people choices, although the choices revolve around more pressing issues than tie fashions. Offering positive choices is the 4th element of quality humane education, and it’s a critical component to creating a humane, sustainable and peaceful world. Humane education explores the greatest challenges of our time (e.g., global warming, resource depletion, human rights, institutionalized animal cruelty, habitat destruction, overpopulation, economic stability, etc.), and it offers positive choice-making as an integral component ofchangemaking . Like my father, I try to offer people a couple of choices that are reasonable and good, but sometimes no such choices are available, and my students must head to the “tie rack” of choices to find something better.
When there’s nothing quite good enough on the tie rack – no pattern or fabric that fits – system-changing and creativity are paramount. I never faced an insoluble tie choice with my father, but there were days I lingered for a long time, uncertain about the best choice. The best choice might have entailed designing a new tie.
We need to design new systems to solve many of our entrenched problems. The key is to recognize when a choice is good enough and when to engage fully in the process of designing aMOGO choice because none are suitable. In my new book, Most Good, Least Harm, I offer 7 keys to operationalizing the MOGO principle. Key 5 is “Model your Message and Work for Change.” In other words, wear the best tie you can while designing the best tie possible. We must all engage in system-changing — whether through our work, our volunteerism, or our charitable donations — in order to create the systems that make all our choices MOGO ones. And, at the same time, to the greatest extent possible we must model our message relying on what “ties” currently exist.
Filed under: keys to MOGO, MOGO (Most Good), positive choices, systemic change Tagged: | fathers, humane education, modeling your message, MOGO choices, MOGO principle, neckties, positive choices, systemic change, ties