Siwe taught me that to inspire children to pursue their dreams, adults should fulfill on their own. Some say mine is a pipe dream. They don’t know I loved playing with pipe cleaners as a kid, and I wouldn’t dare question Siwe’s wisdom.
Education is a gift you give yourself. School is any place that helps you be your best self, any place that encourages you to fulfill on your potential.
This is an era of self-direction – it’s a time when people are being driven by their principles and their values, over their history and their religion. And our children are being left out of this conversation. If we are learning the importance of articulating our purpose and being happy and (you know) the power of listening and vulnerability and empathy and eating to live, why do we keep this from our kids? Why is THAT not what they’re learning in the institutions that we call schools?
I believe what’s next is Future Schools in Dream Cities helping students to create action plans for their bucket list. Can we not teach math and science and language arts with a child starting a screen-printing business? Are there not countless lessons learned if you try to produce a fundraising event? Did we forget the power of chorus and debate competitions and learning a new piece of music or choreography?
I’m telling you, soon employees will have autonomy over their life energy – their work, their time, their practice, their team. What company or organization will be able to hold this new generation’s attention in a job after they’ve spent the entirety of their K-12 education considering their skills, their interests, developing their talents, taking risks to start projects of their own, building teams to create seemingly impossible things at 15, 16, 17? No company will be able to hold these kids to grow their selfish ventures, or expand their nuclear families’ cash cow! Our kids will have corporations of their own. You’ll have to inspire them by your vision...they have computers in their pockets! They’re not gonna settle for your assembly-line work. Will your enterprise have meaning for them?
Now our work environments will become school. How many schools could we build in our community gardens, if we all felt this way about education? How many schools at our passed down dining room tables, in our kitchens, on summer jobs, and on Brooklyn stoops? How many schools would exist in our basements and attics, at a pick up game or at a Spades table?
Let us – please – build some schools in every space where we leave breath.