Thursday, March 12, 2009

Margaret Among Us

I have never, in all my many years in my career, ever felt so alive, so energized, or so creative. I can't sleep because I am thinking and dreaming. I gulp my food at the pace of my thoughts (not good for digestion).

Remember when we were in college? Is there any one of us who didn't dream of starting our own schools, or changing the ways of reaching kids? We entered the job market, and most of us hit the brick wall at full tilt. As burned out and ineffective as many of us have felt, that dream inside of us never died. And now, at the seemingly end of my career, it is coming to life. I could lament about the timing, but there is no time for that. Better late than never.

I am already feeling the impact of this group in my job. I am consulting with teachers differently, working with kids differently, seeing new projects, and loving it more than ever. Thank you all for your energy. I can't wait for the next meeting.

I have always loved the Margaret Mead quote, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." How true.

If you like Margaret Mead, here are some more pertinent quotes. I think she is with us in spirit:

"Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else."

"Thanks to television, for the very first time, the young are seeing history being made before it is censored by their elders."

"I must admit that I personally measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings."

"I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had."

"If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place."

"Instead of being presented with stereotypes of age, sex, color, class, or religion, children must have the opportunity to learn that within each range, some people are loathsome, and some are delightful."

"Instead of needing lots of children, we need high-quality children."

"It is utterly false and cruelly arbitrary to put all the play and learning into childhood, all the work into middle age, and all the regrets into old age."

"It may be necessary temporarily to accept a lesser evil, but one must never label a necessary evil as good."

"Nobody has ever before asked the nuclear family to live all by itself in a box the way we do. With no relatives, no support, we've put it in an impossible situation."

"One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are when you don't come home at night."

"We are now at a point where we must educate our children in what no one knew yesterday, and prepare our schools for what no one knows yet."

"The city is a place where there is no need to wait for next week to get the answer to a question, to taste the food of any country, to find new voices to listen to and familiar ones to listen to again."

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