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April 17, 2006

Quotations as Writing Prompts that State a Position: Agreeing with Gandhi

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

No, it's not a recently discovered verse from the Gospel of Judas, it's a 20th century adage. But, insightful nonetheless. It reminds me of another quotation by Maya Angelou which reads, "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain." In many ways, this is a philosophy not of victimization but one of personal responsibility. That is, responsibility not only for yourself but for your species, your planet, your world.

What does this have to do with writing and the learning institution? That's excactly what I want you to figure out . . .

Instructions: In your journal, please freewrite on the quotation from Mahatma Gandhi. Start by writing the quotation in your journal. Then try to answer the following questions:

1. How does this relate to my life? My beliefs? My experiences?
2. What does this quote make me think/remember/feel?

You may also comment on any other aspect of your quotation that inspires you to remark.

Please polish your responses and post them below before our next class meeting on Wednesday.

Best wishes,


Posted by lhobbs at April 17, 2006 12:36 AM

Readers' Comments:

Professor Hobbs,

I chose this quotation because I believe that it is extremely true. The only way to start a change is to lead by example. You must be unafraid to be the first one to change, because if not you, then who will? This is a very inspirational quotation because it suggests that one person alone can begin something that changes the entire world.

This quote is also about not being hypocritical. If you want to see some change in the world, then you need to display that change in your own actions. It doesn’t make sense to be doing the opposite yet expecting the rest of the world to make the changes. If you are doing this, then you are only contributing to the problem. Every change in the world is started with one person realizing something that needs to be changed and taking the steps necessary to make the change.

Kelsey L.

Posted by: Kelsey L. at April 18, 2006 01:45 AM

Professor Hobbs,

The reason I chose this quotation is because it suck out at me more then the other quotation this is because this quotation is so true in many ways. This is because, if you see something that needs to be changed in the world you are the only one that can do anything about it. This is because, no one can read your mind if you want something to change you have to be the first to stand up and take the first step. Yes it may be hard but if you step up it can change the way the world works. It may not just help you in the end it may help a lot of other individuals in the long run and because of you taking the first step it helped them for the better.
How this relates to my life is that me just sitting around hoping something to get changed is the same way. If I want something to be changed I have to stand up and start the process of changing it yes it may not be easy it may take awhile but in the long run it is for the better. And I will appreciate it in the end I may not at first appreciate it but in the very end when I changed what I wanted changed I can finally sit back and see what I did and see how it helped others in the long run to.
What this quote made me think about was all the people sitting around wanting something to happen but they don’t have the guts to stand up and start the process. This reminds me of how lazy everyone is and if they accomplish something and start doing things the quotation will come to life but not until they stand up and do what they feel is appropriate and is for the best benefits of them and others.

Jennifer G

Posted by: Jennifer Giuliani at April 18, 2006 03:12 PM

Professor Hobbs,

I chose the quote by Mahatma Gandhi because it made me see that if you ever want change, you have to make it happen. You are the only one that can allow change to affect your life in a positive or negative way. This relates to my life in the fact that I can create my own life and change it as well. I believe that it is possible to change who you are and what you want out of life. Some things that I have done in life, I wish I could change, but I know that I have the power and knowledge to never let it happen again. This quote makes me feels a burst of good energy, which could empower my life.

Kelly J.

Posted by: Kelly J. at April 18, 2006 03:54 PM

Professor Hobbs,

I chose this quote because most people these days stand up for what they strongly believe in. Those are they type of people who change themselves to speak out and help others. This quote relates to me in a way by my struggle with college. I saw college as a hardworking but also fun environment before I came here to IUP. I was the kind of person who had a little too much fun and did not do a lot of hard work. So in other words that got me into a lot of trouble with my grades for the fist semester. Therefore in order for me to actually see what college was all about I had to change my ways. So, when the second semester came around I started going to class and studying a lot more and went out less but made sure I still had a social life. So I had to change myself in order to see how college really worked and got the full experience. This quote just reminds me of how far I had come in a year as an academic student.

Liz L.

Posted by: Liz L. at April 18, 2006 07:29 PM

Professor Hobbs,

Mahatma Gandi was a great man, and a good example of what a leader should be like. His quote, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world,” is a very strong and powerful one. This quote says a lot of things, and it has a lot of hidden messages. Reading this quote gives me a lot of inspiration, and I want to go out a make a difference in the world.

I chose to respond to this quote, because it is very relevant to my life. Often times I feel that I should not do anything to make the world a better place, because everyone else is not willing to do the same thing. Sometimes it seems as though I am just a little person in a huge world, and my impact is useless. At other times, I feel that if I can influence just one person to make a change, then that right there is making a difference. I picked this quote, because it is one that we should all consider when we want to see a change.

I feel that this quote is very true and relevant to my life. I have a professor who tries to constantly promote world growth and achievement. He often says that we have to make a change if we want to see a change. I know from experience that if I clean a small area that it tends to stay clean until I mess it up. I also know that when my friends see me doing something they have a tendency to do the same thing, or when I see my friends doing something; I will do the same thing. It is sort of like a chain reaction, or a set of dominoes. When one person does something, the crowd that he or she is around tends to follow. This is why I feel that this quote is relevant to my life and experiences.

This quote makes me feel like I am in power of everything. I feel that I am the base of change and growth when I read this quote. It reminds me of the quote my professor always says, “If you are not a part of the solution, then you are a part of the problem.” I ultimately feel like I am in control of the world when I read this quote, because when I do something different, I get something different as a result.

Kashiff M.

Posted by: Kashiff M. at April 18, 2006 07:45 PM

Professor Hobbs,

When I read this I though about what we have been discussing in class lately. The documentaries he have previously seen in class are examples of revolution, people rising against government in order to change society. In class we have thoroughly discussed the ideas depicted in the films and formed our own opinion, which can be seen in our other blog entries.

This quote initiates the idea to not be passive in society, but support your beliefs and stand up for yourself. I support this quote because it depicts the way people should act when they see the wrong in the world. Instead of pushing it aside and allowing people in our world to live in strife, one should be able to defend those people who have no one to fight for them. How can someone ignore the brutal acts of tyranny? Many people live in fear for their life and their families lives everyday. It only takes one person to start awareness. If I had the means of helping these people or changing society I would do it. I am capable of acknowledging the facts and becoming educated on the issues. It is better to know what is going on and realizing everyday that we shouldn’t take what we have for granted than to live in ignorance.

Samantha V.

Posted by: Samantha V. at April 18, 2006 09:16 PM

Professor Hobbs,

I chose the quote by Gandhi because I agree with it completely. If a person wishes to change something about the world and the people in it, they must first follow their own beliefs. They need to act as they wish others to act. If they do not, how can a person expect others to change as well? I admit that I am still trying to change for the better and act in a way that I want others to, it is very hard to change ideas and beliefs that have been with me for many years. I know that I have to change myself before I can expect others to change. I am trying to erase hate, anger, and close mindedness in order for me to live a more peaceful, loving, and compassionate existence.

Ali L.

Posted by: Ali L. at April 18, 2006 09:34 PM

Professor Hobbs,

I chose to write about the second quote by Mahatma Gandhi. I feel that this quote can be interpreted as, if someone wants something done, they should do it themselves. I completely agree with this opinion. I enjoy standing up for my beliefs and ideas about topics that are important to me. Many people have tendencies to complain about how they want things to be different, but then when the opportunity is there, they chose to sit back and do nothing about it. It reminds me of the presidential voting process. There is always one political party that is not happy with the results of the election, yet it is very unlikely that every American citizen over the age of eighteen votes on Election Day. It appears to me that Gandhi was just trying to encourage people stand up for what they believe in.

Angela Hart

Posted by: Angela H. at April 18, 2006 10:14 PM

Professor Hobbs,

I chose the quotation, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world," by Mahatma Gandhi. I chose it because I understand it more and can relate in a way. I can relate because change is everywhere you look but sometimes not noticed. It is up to everyone's own self to change and be what they want to be and make a differece. This quote actually reminds me that I need to change my ways into something better to achieve future goals.

Thoryn S.

Posted by: Thoryn S. at April 19, 2006 06:01 AM


“You must be the change you wish to see in the world”- Mahatma Gandhi

My reason for choosing this quote by Mahatma Gandhi was because it was clear in its meaning. It speaks of how a person must behave in the way he or she wishes the world would act like. The world is a reflection of one’s actions. If a person is not in favor of pollution but still continues to pollute because those around them do so, then the problem will never be solved. To be more specific, one should lead by example. I myself try to live by this rule because I hate all of the hypocrisy in the world. I attempt to live by a set of morals and do not befriend those who do not live by them. I do this because in a way I would be supporting that behavior. It might seem harsh at times but if they see what their actions are doing to their lives and what people think of them then perhaps it will spark a change. This quote makes me think about the types of changes I actually do wish to see in the world and if I am already setting a good example in order to spark such a movement. Another reason why I chose this quote was because at this moment in time I am examining what I myself can do to change the world for the better. It seems as though I there hasn’t been much of an opportunity to learn about the ways in which I can help. Instead I have been living in a world that has already given me great gifts and I am just taking advantage of them without thinking that some day those opportunities can be taken from me.

-Emily S.

Posted by: Emily S. at April 19, 2006 10:07 AM

Dear Mr Hobbs,

I chose Mahatma Ghandi's quote about changing the world. I chose this quote becaue this is one of the rrles I live my life by. You can't expect anythiung to be achieved in this world if you don't practice it yourself. That is how I interpret this quote. With this I think that anyone can achieve anything. This gives me the feeling that if I continue to believe in the things I want for myself and working towards them, that I will get them.

Posted by: P.Beckles at April 19, 2006 11:26 AM

Professor Hobbs:

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." ~Mohatma Gandhi

I chose this quotation, because I believe that it is true. Our generation today is and will be the generation of our future. The mistakes that we make or the difference in the world that we achieve will affect our future. This relates to me, because now that I have turned 18 years old, I have the ability to vote in order to elect the person who comes into office, therefore making decisions that will affect myself and the lives of others. If I did not partake in this event, then there would be a chance that someone who does not share the same beliefs, views and values that I do will come into office. This quote makes me feel like I can make a difference in the world.

Also, I hope to become in an optometrist in the future. I know that I can affect the lives of many others by helping them. Although I would not be a heart surgeon or a psychologist, I would be helping many people see, not only what is in front of them, but also hopefully the world around them. By becoming an optometrist, I will be the change in the world. I will be one of the many people of my generation to make a difference.

Linda M.

Posted by: Linda M. at April 19, 2006 11:58 AM

Dear Professor Hobbs,

I chose this quote because I believe it is a true statement. A lot of people would like to see change in the world, but don't do anything about it. It takes at least one person to bring forth the idea of change, and if you want it, then you must become that change. When you start living that change, there is a greater chance of more people catching on. Then they will start to change too.


Posted by: Brendan at April 19, 2006 12:13 PM

Hello Hobbs,

I choose this very powerful quote because it is very true. There are people out in this world that make it their duty to complain about everything that they don’t like or agree with. But what they fail to realize is that change comes from within and emulates throughout those around you. If you want to see change, you have to take the initiative. Gandhi said that “you must be the change you wish to see in the world” There is no one that can better explain the change that you want to see other than yourself. It is also about being an example to those around you. If you gain respect from others and act in the way that you want others to, you will see a difference in their actions. This reminded me of my high school days where my classmates and I would always have something to complain about such as the strict rules or shortened lunch periods. Ironically, it never crossed our minds to join the student council or come up with our own committee that would encourage change. If we had examined ourselves, then we would have realized that we needed to be the change that we wanted to see in our high school.

Adrianne E

Posted by: Adrianne E at April 19, 2006 12:30 PM

Professor Hobbs,

I chose the second quote:

You must be the change you wish to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

I’ve been thinking about this quote for a while lately, although I’ve never seen it before. I think there is a lot of truth in it and if I as a Christian am going to profess acceptance then I should be excepting even if others aren’t excepting to Christianity or me. A lot of times people talk out against Christianity and all we do as Christians is shut our ears and open our mouths and throw on a stereotype. Then we tell them back that all they do is shut their ears and open their mouths. No one is saying we have to agree but ourselves. They may be out to shoot us down, but we are just helping them by being jackasses about it. It makes me mad sometimes that I’m under the same label with all of them, but then again I just didn’t live up to what I said before that I should be the change I wish to see in the world. I want to be a Christian, but one that’s for people not themselves. I think we’ve had a long history of being under a shelter and not coming out until there have been enough of us to be sure we can overcome any obstacle that’s in our way. I think a lot of what the bible calls us to be is something we all are not. Loving. We love one another unless we’re not all in the same room. Perfection is hard to come bye. If we are going to devote our lives to something maybe we should try to get closer to it. I’m not siding with the activist liberals, though I respect them and love them, because I think a lot of times they are just like us. They don’t give us a chance and they are against us because we are against them. Are we only against them because they are against us? Sometimes, and this is a crazy thought, it seems like they except us more than we except them. Sarcasm. Is this the way God would want us to be living. We are supposed to represent Love at its very root. And people who are not with us have a leg up on us. Christian or not we’re all in this together looking for something to live for. I put my faith in this book because I believe what is says is how a human should truly be able to live and when I go with it, I’m happy. So dose it all come back to number one. I guess we’ll never know. I do know it’s hard to put logical explanations to emotions and when I see a preacher try to do it, it makes me appreciate religion even more. It means they are taking into consideration doubt. I can’t be satisfied with a religion that’s all about content and regression. We could be so much more. I think thick headedness is a disease. In fact I feel like having an open mind is looked down upon in Christianity. Not by God, but by Christians. Maybe I just haven’t been a Christian long enough to be chained down. There is no definition of God only interpretations, much like love. I can feel love like I can feel God. Some may say that’s ignorance, but I only hope they can accept me if I try to accept them.

Sam H

Posted by: Sam H. at April 19, 2006 12:37 PM

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -Mahatma Ghandi (1869-1948)

I chose this quote because it is a belief which I feel strongly in. For one to want a change, they must first make the change for themselves. Sitting back and maintaining old, less desirable ways will not change the world, but actions will.

We as humans have a big influence on those who we love and love us in return. In the same respect, those we love have influence on others. If we wish to see change, we must change ourselves to make way for this change. Once this is done, those we have influence on will see this change, and possibly change accordingly.

When we grow up, we look up to our parents, grandparents, and other elders who are close to us. The older we grow, the more we start to act the way our parents, etc., have acted throughout our childhood. This is not only because we are taught how to act, but also because this is the way they presented themselves infront of us.

Posted by: Missy Z at April 19, 2006 01:43 PM

Professor Hobbs,

I think this is a great quote. I think if someone believes in something strongly enough then they should follow their beliefs completely. This reminds me of the movie Crash that we watched in class. The character Ms. Johnson is angered by the man who is obviously racist. She will not help the mans father be seen by a doctor because he previously made a rude racist comment to her. She is obviously against racism. But at the very end of the film she makes a rude racist comment to a person of a race different from hers. I think that if someone like Ms. Johnson in the movie wants to see the world change and become free of racism, she herself should take the first steps and lead the change by example. If we all live the way we wished to see the world, at least our own worlds would change and we would start a greater change.

C. Robinson

Posted by: Cathy at April 19, 2006 10:07 PM


This is very inspirational quote for me. I [was inspired by] Gandhi after studying his autobiography "My Experiment with Truth". He showed an example of how a person with below normal capabilities can become a Mahatma.


Posted by: Hari Prasad at April 27, 2006 01:39 PM


Note from Lee:

Thanks Hari for that remark. You are correct, Gandhi's book My Experiment with Truth is indeed a fundamental read. Anyone who is interested may find it HERE.

Posted by: Lee Hobbs at April 27, 2006 01:50 PM

Dear Prof. Hobbs,

This quote has truth in it and is applicable to my life. This is particularly apropos to my belief/faith of Christianity. As a follower of Christ, one form of witness is having a righteous lifestyle before all men. Christ commands this because that way men will see that it is not just what I am saying to them about his goodness and the rewards, but that there is proof of it in my life demonstrated by my "walk" in this life. This is true with my experiences as well, I had a friend that wasn't doing so well in school and because I hung around him I was influence him to get better grades like how I was. This quote makes me feel a sense of compassion/empathy for the well-being of others. It reinforces my empathy rather.

Posted by: Holden B. Jones at May 7, 2006 06:32 PM

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