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The Care of Your Soul Became Mine

Following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Charles felt deeply moved to write the following article on behalf of the students who have participated in the Listening Sessions and those other students in schools across America whose voices have not been heard.


Creating A National Collective Voice

I found this heart-wrenching quote on my daughter’s MySpace site one day four years ago, just days before she quit school.  She had been in public schools and excellent private schools, and still, at such a young age, her insight and sense of defeat echo what I have been hearing over and over for the past four years as I have been conducting Listening Sessions with teens across the country.

As Paris’ piece makes us aware, there is little to no invitation for student voices in the discussions about education reform/reinvention/transformation.

Springtime in Education

Close your eyes and imagine a glorious spring day. Take a deep breath. You might see a meadow with flowers and a forest alive with green growth, sunlight bathing the landscape, blossoms waving in the soft winds, calves jumping, lambs bleating. Everything seems young and fresh and there is an energy in the air that renews the spirit and is filled with the promise of new, is upon us.  What if we took the dollars and the energy we have been spending in saving the “old tree “ and put it into co-creating the new seed to plant a new one?  What if the DNA of the new seed, was created with the intention to yield a tree full of vitality, full of nourishing fruit for our young people?

The Real Question in Education ​

Public education in America today is, for young people enrolled in the system, a journey into an external orientation toward the world.  It is designed to prepare young people to navigate successfully within the societal structures they will face upon graduation. It teaches them to move away from their internal, heart-oriented, imaginative, flowing sense of life by placing them in a self-oriented, non-imaginative, fact-based, rigid, externally-focused structure.

This shift is accomplished by taking advantage of their inexperience, and their innocence through the perpetuation of a myth: that in order to succeed in their lives they must be able to master an ever-increasing difficult set of measurable standards.

Thinking the Unthinkablearch
Not long ago, I was asked to consider thinking the unthinkable and nothing less. In pondering this, I realized that always believing in miraculous outcomes could radically transform my life.  I found myself deeply challenged by this phrase when I began to apply it to education. I realized that what was a beautiful vision in my heart was plagued by my own cynicism, doubt, and fear. Thinking the unthinkable was such a confronting notion that I sat frozen for many days.

Suddenly I began to warm to the idea. A thawing occurred and a new energy began to bubble up. A happiness arose in my heart and the vision I was holding seemed to shine more brightly.
What if we did dare to think the unthinkable about our children and their education?

Articles by Charles Kouns,
Founding Steward
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