That’s Not The Way We’ve Always Done It

Posted: May 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

“That’s not the way we’ve always done it.”

“In the past, we’ve (…fill in the blank here…)”

I will be honest now … I’ve heard these two statements so many times this year I think if I hear either one of them again I might puke.


Just to clarify, there have been a few times that I asked what was done in the past, but that was a calculated question because I didn’t want to hear someone come right back with the answer “In the past, we …”  And I’m not stubborn enough to not care what was done in the past either.  Sometimes knowing why it was done really makes sense and makes it easy to keep doing it because it was a good idea.  However, I feel that often times some people say something like this because they don’t want to do anything different and I think that just might be our downfall.  I think that school people (me included) often times get so comfortable in our routines that it becomes easy to keep doing whatever it is.  I say this with the understanding that it is not always easy to let go of old habits.  But, it also helps to look at where we want to be and ask ourselves if what we are doing know will get us there OR will I need to do something a little different to get some different results.


I also believe that there are people who only want to do things their way and when someone does something a little different (it doesn’t even have to be radically different either) then they get all out-of-whack, upset, and frustrated.  This to me is the sign of a selfish person.  I don’t think that is a quality that we need to have. There is nothing wrong with being confident in what you do, but when it gets to the point of “your way is the only way” this is when I lose my ability to want understand you.  I begin to tune you out.  I don’t want to be like this and I don’t want to be around people like this.

No Selfishness

So here are my challenges to all of us ….

  1. Don’t accept the status quo.  Look to see if it is working.  If it is, great.  Ask yourself … can it be better?
  2. Don’t just automatically start out a conversation with … “That’s not how we do it here.”  or “In the past, we ,,,,” or “That’s not the way we’ve always done it.”
  3. Ask Why?
  4. Strive to make things better.
  5. Don’t be selfish.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  Maybe I am the one that is out-of-whack in my thinking.  If so, let me know.

  1. Amy Smith says:

    You aren’t out of whack — it’s important to understand the motivation behind things. I always ask my students, what is the motivation of the author? How does he/she want to manipulate you. It doesn’t have to be in negative ways, but identify the skills that are being used to make you feel this way. In a similar pattern, we don’t always have to do things the same way. Sometimes a different perspective will open new doors to ideas and thoughts. It’s important to learn to think, evaluate, and embrace — or others will do your thinking for you. Great post!

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