The Textured Reality of Commitment

Submitted By:
Allison Letourneau, Kimball Union Academy, Meriden, NH

Dedicated: The Case for Commitment in an Age of Infinite Browsing by Pete Davis
Simon and Schuster, May 4, 2021

Pete Davis, a civic advocate from Falls Church, Virginia, posits, with compelling conviction, that our current culture prioritizes and perpetuates a state of infinite browsing, often leading us to paralyzing indecision. In the book Dedicated, catalyzed by a commencement speech he delivered at Harvard Law School in 2018, Davis thrusts us into the thick of a tension between open options and commitment. The former stems from a "novelty" culture in which we are programmed to resist commitment—and all it entails—to make space for the consideration of endless possibilities. The latter points to a counterculture—one reflected in the lifetime achievements of Fred Rogers, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the “slow and steady” teachers from our past. Whether we, as educators, are engaged in strategic planning, assessing and building culture, or honing our art of teaching and learning, Davis encourages us to lean into the textured reality of what commitment requires of us. To accept the discomfort of vulnerability, fear of failure, and inevitability of unforeseen challenge, is to commit. And such work, Davis argues, is our most authentic path toward enduring change. An intriguing, contemplative, and insightful read, Dedicated invites us to interrogate our own tension between browsing and commitment.

Psychology & Human Development
Leadership Practice