I am proud to be known as a problem solver – an individual who automatically looks at a problem and sorts through the issues to find the solution. Here is a silly example from this past week: I stopped at the gas station to fill up my car on my way into town. I decided to get my coffee while there to free up my early morning time at the Center. When I walked in, there was a guy trying to get coffee out of one of the carafes. He stated that it wasn’t working, while he repeatedly tried to pump it. After filling my cup from another dispenser, I said (what seemed obvious to me), “maybe the tube is disconnected.” He opened it up and sure enough, it wasn’t even inside. The funny thing is – he then told me that he had seen a tube laying on the other counter before he even started trying to fill his cup.
It honestly confounds me that some folks have lost all sense of innate curiosity, they don’t know how to look beyond what has been presented to them, and they are often afraid or don’t know how to ask questions. But, I guess I shouldn’t be astonished given that we have intentionally developed a system that specifically teaches conformity, obedience, and fear of anything that appears different. Consequently, our society is filled with people who are narrow-minded, uninspired, unimaginative, disengaged, disenfranchised, bored, and, yet, fearful of change.
With that being said, I constantly wonder (worry) how our world can move forward if we continue to train people to do the same thing, in the same way, over and over again, but, yet, expect different results? I ask this question in all seriousness; because that is how some people define insanity. (A quote often attributed to Einstein but not clearly substantiated.)
I will always argue that, instead, we need curious, imaginative, open-minded, unbiased people who are excited to meet challenges head-on - who are inspired to look beyond the obvious and develop exciting new solutions.
I am grateful to be one of those people who is always looking at the big picture (despite my early training within said system) – one who has a constant stream of ideas (chatter) running through their heads, which can be in response to an immediate problem, something somebody mentioned in passing, or even a potential future complication. I literally cannot turn it off – even during my summer-time adventures, when I was totally relaxed and living completely in the moment, I was still subconsciously churning out plans and ideas.
This compulsion, along with my willingness to jump on an idea, comes in handy when we are faced with exciting opportunities/challenges at Deep Root Center. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we have reached capacity at 48 Riverside Drive (DRC Canton). This has created an intense emotional struggle for me, because I have had to say, “sorry, we are full,” to three families (10 kids) already this year (literally, within two weeks of opening). It really does break my heart to say, “no,” to people who reach out to us for help.
Which leads me to my most recent brainstorm --- As you probably know, we are closed every Wednesday. It is the day we expect our student members to use for independent pursuits and the one day of the week that I can schedule meetings and get some of the admin. stuff accomplished. My current idea is to have the kids who are on our waiting list come to the Center on that day to access my direct support, to use our facilities, and to have the opportunity to socialize. This provides a multi-prong solution to several of our ongoing challenges. I don’t have to feel horrible about giving families a “hard no.” Parents will have a consistent face to face support to create their own self-directed learning environment at home. And, in the process, we can provide some additional cash flow to help ease some of our financial issues by charging a daily fee for our services. In addition, when we can offer those students full membership, they will have had some time to settle in and understand how DRC works. It seems like a win-win for everyone, at least for now. We do know, as our waiting list continues to grow, that we will ultimately need a second facility, most likely within the year.
Stay-tuned as we continue to generate exciting, new, and creative, “outside the box” ideas and collaborations to meet the needs of all of the NoCo families who are breaking barriers, smashing educational norms, and hopping onto the Self-Directed Educational train, with their children.
* I wanted to share one of Seth Godin’s recent blog posts; he speaks to all of the above in his uniquely, brilliant fashion.
A useful definition of art
Art is a human activity. It is the creation of something new, something that might not work, something that causes a viewer to be influenced.
Art uses context and culture to send a message. Instead of only a contribution of beauty or craft, art adds intent. The artist works to create something generous, something that will change us.
Art isn’t painting or canvas or prettiness. Art is work that matters.
It’s entirely possible that you’re an artist.
Everyone can be, if we choose.
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