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Thinking the Unthinkable
by Charles Kouns, Founding Steward


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?

This new stance led to some thrilling questions. What if we could envision a new day, when all children in this country were enrolled in a new learning journey that inspired and excited every one of them? What if we didn’t have to drag them out of bed every morning? What if the drop-out rate fell to zero?  What if there was no need for security in the schools? What if suicides and eating disorders and gangs all disappeared? What if? What if? What if? Possibility after possibility began to tumble out.


As you can see in the visions of the young people in these pages, they can think the unthinkable. Yet, because of what they have experienced in their lives, it is hard for many to believe their dreams and visions could actually happen.  Despite this, they have been courageous enough to give the visioning a try and as you can see their wisdom and their ideas are powerful.

As a community and as a society, do we have the collective courage to think the unthinkable on behalf of our children? Can we collectively look each other in the eye and be honest enough to admit what isn’t working? Can we let go of those aspects of the current system in order to hold a space for new ideas to arise? How do we collectively examine and let go of our own cynicism, doubt and fear? Are we willing to allow young people into the conversation and give them a voice in the decisions we make? If we did, what would these choices require we DO afterwards?

These are the questions I am holding as I move forward in the world thinking the unthinkable. I look forward to continuing to share what we learn from our remarkable young people.

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