Z""Have you heard the phrase "systems thinking"?  It basically refers to human beings having an understanding of the interdependent systems which are responsible for providing our quality of life. But what is a system?

Systems can be objects, principles, or elements joined together to form a unified whole like a solar system or a legal system. A system can be components working together as a unit like a stereo system or a computer system. A system can be groups of anatomically related organs or parts like a circulatory system or a respiratory system. A system can be a person's method of accomplishing a task like your system for studying for a test.

Systems are comprised of people as well as things. Something that positively affects the performance of one part of a system or disrupts one part of a system can have unanticipated influences on other systems. Systems thinking is all about understanding the interconnected world that we live in and realizing that the parts of a system work together and are dependent upon the success of each component for the good of the whole.

Systems are everywhere! Did you watch the news last night to check on the weather systems in our state? You used the monetary system the last time you made a purchase. If you've ridden on a bus or airplane lately, you were part of the mass transit system. Many people have a system for how they eat an Oreo cookie. Kindergarten students may have a system for learning the days of the week. Do you understand the system for keeping score in tennis? The last time you had a fever, it was your immune system fighting off an illness. You benefit from the electrical system in your house whenever you plug in the toaster. Every time you look at your watch or at a calendar, you are using a system for keeping track of time. You are probably a product of our system of education. And you are part of a family which is a system where individual members work together to solve problems, accomplish tasks, and work towards common goals.

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