|Image courtesy of cruiznbye/Flickr|
In my first decade of work as a humane educator I taught middle and high school students regularly; but these days, only periodically do I visit schools, and often only for single presentation. Every year, however, I have the pleasure of teaching a week-long humane education block at a local 7th and 8th grade. It is often one of the highlights of my year.
This year was no exception. The last week of January I spent five afternoons with a group of 25 students who affirmed my belief that change is possible, is happening, and that this generation will succeed in transforming unjust, unsustainable, and inhumane systems, if we simply provide them with the tools and knowledge they need for the tasks ahead.
Why do I believe this?
- This group generated the most beautiful, nuanced, and powerful list of humanity’s best qualities - qualities they valued deeply.
- They ALL wanted to make a difference and were eager to start by addressing their own school’s system of recycling, composting, and waste disposal to dramatically minimize the waste they produced.
- They all made very specific, very achievable personal commitments on top of their commitment as a group.
- They have a teacher ready and able to support their commitments, nurture their dreams, and guide their process of creating change, starting in their own school.
This last point is key.
Children need our support, guidance, mentorship, and knowledge. Many of us are formal teachers; most of us are not. Yet all of us are educators and all of us have a role to play if we hope to see a solutionary generation.
Let’s begin by each committing to do this one simple act:
Contact your school board and your legislators and ask that they embrace a big enough purpose for our children and their future: to educate a generation of solutionaries.
Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm; Above All, Be Kind; and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDxDirigo talk: “The World Becomes What You Teach"
My TEDxYouth@BFS "Educating for Freedom"
My TEDxYouth@CEHS "How to Be a Solutionary"
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