Last April, I had an incredible opportunity to explore some what if… questions around the way that kids learn and grow. It was a process that allowed me to truly stretch my thinking around what is possible for kids. Since then, I have been carrying around a drawing that synthesized my thinking. I haven’t been able to figure out whether to throw it away, revise and extend it, or share it in draft form. In essence, it is a mess. The kind of mess that comes from my mind as I dream and hope. It is the kind of mess that gets me excited and depressed at the same time.
Here are some of the current highlights of this visual dreaming.
We need beautiful places for kids to learn. I was standing waiting for my daughter to finish Girl Scouts last night, and I was noticing how beautiful her school is. I noticed an attention to detail, big windows, and welcoming lighting and colors. There are so many meager school facilities, and this fact is a hurdle to learning that many schools never clear. Our next generation of schools must have walls that inspire, showcase a dedication to the principals of sustainability, and think deeply about items like lighting and acoustics. All kids deserve the soul filling experience of their learning space being their Third Teacher.
Next, leadership is the same, and leadership is dramatically different. Leaders today must be effective curators of information. They must look to amplify their best people and leverage their partners and potential partners so that kids are surrounded with opportunities and experiences. Leaders must listen deeply. At no other time has the noise of life been so loud and this requires all leaders to listen deeply, single out the best stuff, and be open to listening to a variety of ideas and opinions across the spectrum. Leaders need a network to support them in their lonely work, and the same network to provide a transfusion of ideas when the supply is low. My favorite current leaders focus on being cross pollinators and saying “YES and” to the energy of the organization.
Finally, as I think about the student that I hope sprout from the learning places that we sow, I hope that our each learners have the ability to see. This ability to see into the future just far enough that they can smile, have hope, and long for the journey toward the next day and next week. There are too many part of life that draw the shades of pessimism over our eyes, but learning and school should be a huge beam of sunshine that propels us forward. We need people with a deep optimism surrounding our kids with incredible projects of purpose that will allow them launch in the hope light of life with a bit of attitude that says we can solve anything together.
How can we pursue these things together? What can we change tomorrow to begin these shifts? Why aren't more of us pushing for more conversations about the importance of these things?