The president-elect’s new website asks everyone to “tell us your vision for the country.” Here’s what I submitted:
Transform everything by teaching our children to be creative problem solvers, not through a broken education system that teaches compliance and deficiency, but through a new spirit of guided discovery with mentors devoted to kindling the spark within each child, so they may feel their own promise.
This is truly the lever that will change everything, given a chance. When children learn to question, when they’re taught confidence to solve problems with creativity, their lives become stories of opportunity and discovery.
There is a community thriving in a place that drew myriad individuals with the hope of finding prosperity against all odds. They embraced a dream, a desire, and impulse for fulfillment in a town called Immokalee translated home.
Imagine a map. X marks the spot. Here lies treasure.
Some would say foolishness. No treasure lies there. It is a faulty figment of imagination.
Others dream. This X holds promise.
So against all odds people came to this place marked X on a map inspired by tales that they heard of employment, safety, new beginnings. Rivers were crossed. Fences climbed. Bushes gave shelter from predators. Breath was suppressed. Hearts pumped louder then a surveillance planes engines. Personal atrocities were encountered and endured. This journey was not easy. No one can really take on the experience of those who undertook it. It was difficult. Yet necessary.
Then you reach the spot. X on the map.
Sleep under a truck. Sun dry your rain drenched clothes along with your tears.
File into line to gain a promise of a days work if luck will have it. Toil, care, worry. Take solace and strength in those you love. That is was will be always your nourishment.
A better life. Freedom. Caring. Love.
Imagine an X on a map. What would you dream? Sacrifice to get there?
A bunch of teachers, community members, random change-makers are engaged in just that – dreaming in possibility. The outcome is gracefully unfolding.
Pioneering. A spirit that creates unifies and begets bewilderment, engagement, newness in love.
Thanks to and for all of you in Immokalee who committed to the dream. Please continue to imagine and dream on.
A child has the right to their own wonder, to their enthusiasm, to their innate curiosity as they explore the world around them. A child has the right to ask questions and be heard, to hear answers from adults without impatience or contempt. A child has the right to create beauty as their heart compels them, to be encouraged in their community without fear of apathy or ridicule. A child has the right to learn freely.
Too often we adults get caught up in ourselves, in the demands of each day as we try to survive. Nowhere is this more true than in the poorest areas of the world, where survival demands its due in every moment of every day. Too many of our children have the eyes of adults, weary well beyond their years, their wonder stolen much too soon.
But there’s a new hope this year, arriving in the form of little laptop computers from OLPC. With these new laptops, Waveplace Foundation is teaching Caribbean kids to become digital storytellers, to use these little machines to help nurture their talents for the benefit of all.
As adults, we see computers as a tool for our work. We see only their pragmatic side, and so think of computers as a necessary job skill. At Waveplace, we see something else as we watch children with their new laptops. We see pride in their eyes at being given such a special gift. We see excitement as they learn to do wondrous new things. We see determination to solve the next puzzle, a look we imagine on their faces in the future as they tackle the world’s troubles.
To a child, having their own laptop is like having a special confidant, a secret sharer, one with infinite patience and continual encouragement. In the Waveplace course, children learn to program these computers, which is a creative and effective way to teach problem solving. The confidence they get when they’re able to do this is incredible. It’s changing how they feel about all learning. They become more enthusiastic and more engaged.
More than this, these laptops connect them to the world. Just as books have carried wisdom through the ages, these computers connect children to teachers and students from afar. Even as the harshness of their home begins to crush their spirit, these laptops are a window to what’s possible, to the certain knowledge that they have a right to learn, and grow, and dream.
Not bad for two-hundred bucks.
They think they can tame you, name you and frame you
Aim you where you don’t belong
They know where you’ve been but not where you’re going
And that is the source of the songs
– john gorka
Somewhere along a distant shore a child walks with eyes that burn. She sees everything, from the mother dog and pup searching through garbage for food, to the tangle of fishing line in the sea grapes. She takes in the details, both beautiful and terrible. She braces through flood of feeling.
At home, she cannot speak of it. At school, she fears response. In her heart, there is a passion for the world. Her talent is on the edge of immeasurable.
Would that we could say to her, “Be true” … to tell her this flood might someday sustain her, become career.
We in the world are waiting for her wisdom. She needs only the path, and the courage, and the chance. This is a gift we can give.