What’s Next? vs Who’s Next?

What’s next? Vs. Whose next?

As I reflect on the human-centered design work I’ve done with students in the past couple of years, I’ve been wrestling with how to get students to truly conceptualize empathy and become inspired and motivated to become empathetic changemakers in our world.

Our world promotes the “what’s next?” mentality. We are always asking ourselves what’s next in our life? It could be career-oriented. It could be relationship-oriented. It could be a life-changer. It could simply be a monotony-reducer. Either way, when we ask what’s next, it’s driven by us as the individual. Our needs, our wants, and our desires are put at the forefront. I am in charge. I am the one making the decision. I am the most important.

How might we reject this “what’s next” mentality and replace it with a “who’s next?” lens to view the world. Let me say this, the “who’s next?” lens isn’t about having a savior complex. It’s about empathy. It’s about supporting others, not because of any extrinsic rewards, but intrinsic value. It’s about being a human and wanting to help support humanity. It’s about asking “who’s next?” as we look for needs in our schools, communities, and the larger world. It’s about how we approach serving others to make all of us stronger. So who’s next?

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