I shared the book with my friend Ferdi Serim and received this response. Ferdi works with High School and Elementary School educators around the United States. I think it’s a great example of how the content of the book can help each of us write a very short values-based manifesto to keep ourselves on the right track.
Here’s what he had to say:
Here are my instant, initial reflections. They center on how the 5 Guiding Values touch my life and work, now.
I accept….that working in education, I will encounter people’s deepest, most strongly held assumptions about life, society, justice, and almost every other important principle. Therefore, there will be disagreement, right after the “kuumbaya moments” about how much we all care for the children at the center of the impulse that drives education. What I will work to change is what we observe. Rather than observing our assumptions (and feeling the comradeship from being with those who agree with our perspectives and alternating that feeling with the disdain for those whose behaviors limit efforts to push back ignorance) I will work to shift the focus to observing what is really happening, what is really working for the students. In essence, saying “I don’t care so much what I think about learning, I care much more about discovering what will help each particular student, so that we can match up each student’s need with what they are provided”
I will show up with this open, accepting attitude in every aspect of my interactions, at work, at play, in the neighborhood, in traffic, on the checkout line.
I will pay 100% attention to what’s happening now, realizing that “there are no interruptions in life, there is only what is happening next”
I will revisit my “irons in the fire” to experience them as gifts, and reconsider the judgment that having so many irons is a character flaw or evidence of ADD, which is how they’ve sometimes been characterized. “Yes” is a blessing.
Stewardship makes that blessing capable of coming to fruition. Nurturing the seeds of “yes” through time, talent and treasure is a dharmic response to the opportunities life brings. When the previous 4 guiding principles bring me to a situation where I’ve said “yes” to more than I can accomplish individually, it is time to turn to my community. Building the capacity of the various communities I live in is part of the deal as well.
Kevin, these are powerful, cogent ideas that have practical application to life. I hope at some point we have and/or create opportunities to draw people in to conversations about this work….it can be greatly beneficial to the people in education who we serve and who in turn serve our children.
Thanks so much!