Paul G. Young, Ph.D.
President & CEO
National AfterSchool Association
I suggest that it's more important to be interested than interesting. Do you agree? I think that philosophy impacts my approach to education and leadership. Here's why.
We are all teachers. We are all leaders. Leaders have influence. Leaders must be knowledgeable and competent. You can't reach high levels of competence without being inquisitive, eager to learn, and constantly seeking new ways to do what you do better. That's being interested. Those who are interested are engaged in a continuous quest to learn.
As a result, those who are always interested become interesting while engaged in their quest for knowledge. They become magnets from which others seek knowledge, wisdom, and new learning insights. The true leaders of any profession are those who are most interested in learning all they can and, as a result, become the most interesting and most influential.
But let's face it. We are exposed daily to interesting celebrities and public officials who have somehow captured the attention of the masses because of their interesting contributions to society, or perhaps more so, because of good looks and entertaining characteristics. The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not they really know what they need to know and be able to do to be truly interesting.
There are many "experts" in education who have acquired interesting characteristics so that they can entertain others in order to keep attention. That's a problem. Yet, it's a reality. Our kids, even those of us who were ‘once upon a time’ kids, have shortened attention spans. If a teacher or presenter isn't entertaining, they soon aren't interesting enough to keep our attention, no matter how much interest they have.
Still, we must elevate our personal and professional levels of interest. As we go about our personal quest for knowledge, innovation, and competence, we must also acquire the skills necessary to become interesting. It does us little good to be interested if we are unable to use that influence in interesting ways.
Come to Dallas where we have dozens of workshops and plenary sessions led by experts in our field who have demonstrated the highest levels of interest and who will deliver content in interesting ways.
I look forward to seeing you soon.