Listening Session Paintings

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Listening Session Paintings from The Center School

These are the two paintings that came out of the two groups from The Center School. Both contain wonderful stories. The first I call "Always More", which says it all right there, but notice how the group focused on the middle of the tree, ignoring the roots and the upper portions. Each branch is a branch of opportunity leading to a new learning experience. All of the splatters represent creativity that is raining down on everything. The building signifies the more industrial side of the experience, while the red sun dominates the picture with its vitality and liveliness. The clouds express such feelings as love and that even though things can go wrong their is another always another chance.

The second painting I have dubbed "Eye of the Beholder". It has been designed to represent several stories. Moving vertically from the bottom right, the drawing signifies coming into
the learning experience rather unformed and then as you emerge from it, you explode into the world. The top right stands for no matter what you do, you can always bring creativity into it. The top left has the words live, love and laugh, expressing values the experience would offer as well as a sense of being free. Finally, the eye is the wisdom gained from the experience.

Both are wonderful. Thanks to all of you for participating!

Friday, January 16, 2009

The President's Wishes for his Kids and ours

Even though his inauguration has a few days to go, President-elect Obama published a letter to his daughters in Parade Magazine entitled:

'What I Want for You — and Every Child in America'
By President-elect Barack Obama

Before I comment further, the humorist (and ex-PR guy) in me laughs at the fact that he is so busy the only way to communicate with his daughters is to write them a letter in Parade. Too funny... but it turns out the letter is meant for all of us. And what he wrote is beautiful:

"When I was a young man, I thought life was all about me-about how I'd make my way in the world, become successful, and get the things I want. But then the two of you came into my world with all your curiosity and mischief and those smiles that never fail to fill my heart and light up my day. And suddenly, all my big plans for myself didn't seem so important anymore. I soon found that the greatest joy in my life was the joy I saw in yours. And I realized that my own life wouldn't count for much unless I was able to ensure that you had every opportunity for happiness and fulfillment in yours. In the end, girls, that's why I ran for President: because of what I want for you and for every child in this nation.

I want all our children to go to schools worthy of their potential-schools that challenge them, inspire them, and instill in them a sense of wonder about the world around them...."

This is a beautiful sentiment and a totally worthy objective... he does not say he wants our students to go to schools where they become test literate, but schools that are worthy of young people's potential. He talks about inspiration and wonder. YES! I hope he will really listen to his own heart and call for a reprioritizing of our goals for young people. I hope he will listen to the young people that are his children and their friends and as a father, push to make the schools worthy of their potential.

That would be a beautiful intention. Imagine Learning that is filled with wonder, imagination, creativity, inspiration, excitement, challenge, exploration, and last but not least, compassion and love. I can!

I was in a meeting with the Compassion Action Network in Seattle this week and through our inspired conversation, I began to think about how if we asked the teachers and students whether compassion was built into the very structure -- the objectives, standards, policies and procedures of the school system -- we would hear a resounding "very little, if at all." Yet, it was exciting to think about beginning an effort to design a system where compassion and love were essential in its creation.

It would be a much different world for our children Monday through Friday. Go President Obama!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Center School Listening Session is Wonderful!

Today, we had a really engaging Listening Session in Seattle with 8 students from The Center School. Thanks to principal, Lisa Escobar who totally got what we were doing and did most of the leg work getting it set up. Ankober, Ann, Arielle, Claire, Hong, Isaiah, Lucas, and Riley gave some powerful and insightful answers. It was fun, their concept paintings were cool and I think a good time was had by all.

It takes a lot of courage and faith to walk in to a Listening Session without really knowing what is going to occur, but everyone jumped right in and did a wonderful job. In the next couple of days, I will post photos of the paintings and later, when all of the consent forms are in, photos of the session. WE THANK YOU ALL!!!