Director’s Log | April 2018

Before I lost it somewhere in the middle of a move, my favorite t-shirt was one that said this:

“To be is to do.” – Socrates

“To do is to be.” – Sartre

“Dobedobedo.” – Sinatra

Besides giving me the chance to pretend I understand Socrates and Sartre and to prove my love for the songs of Frank Sinatra, I really came to believe in the profundity of the last of the quotes. The world is relentlessly pushing us to see our lives as one thing or another. In some cases, it’s fun to choose. Pizza Hut or Domino’s? Golden State or Cleveland? Dale Jr. or Jimmie? (Full disclosure: the correct answers are Pizza Hut, Cleveland and Dale Jr.)

We face the same pressure to “decide” when we think about how we might fulfill our role as human and citizens. Do we fulfill our human obligations more fully if we listen or talk? Should we work local or global? Step back and think or jump in and do? Can we contribute more by coming up with new systems, new ways of thinking about our problems, or by getting to work on solving them? “Be” or “do”?

The case for dobedobedo:

At IEI, we vote with Frank. We spend time reading and listening and learning. We convene and synthesize and recommend. Call that “be.”

But when a Forum is over and recommendations have been developed, it is time for our version of “do.”

Two weeks ago, we had an exciting, energizing, activating session with our colleagues from rural faith communities to explore the role faith leaders can have in addressing the needs of our youngest citizens, helping to build onramps for them to take themselves and their congregations into service.

This week we spent time with the committed, curious, passionate members of our kidsReadyNC communities in Catawba, Chowan, Randolph and Rockingham counties, who are reimagining how they organize and deliver early childhood services to improve results.

So…Listening to people in the field makes for better thought which makes for better policy which makes implementation better which improves thinking which makes new implementation better. Dobedobedo.

The case for “just do it.”

Among the telecasts of our podcast First in Future this month, I’d call special attention to a conversation with two members of the General Assembly’s “Future Caucus,” Sens. Jay Chaudhuri and Danny Earl Britt. They note that while younger members of the legislature remain clearly Democrats and Republicans, they have a much more practical approach to governing. Rather than shouting at each other from the poles, they look for ways they can come together to solve tricky issues. Call it the Nike approach to governing: just do it.

The case for “do the Dew.”

It’s a brave new world. Exciting. And exhausting. Which is one reason I recommend one more strategy: Do the Dew.* Like me and Dale Jr.

Enjoy this month’s Digest!


*Note to self: Check and see if the Pepsi Corporation wants to sponsor the Director’s Digest now that Dale Jr. is retired.