Elsa is still learning how to be a ferret. Early shelter life impacted her, but she is watching the others and learning.
Sometimes she misses the point.
Today I watch as Ching Shih picks out her favorite food from the mixture and scurries under the bed to her personal stash, storing and eating only the best food. Elsa has been watching this for weeks. Today Elsa decides to “help” Ching Shih by grabbing any bit of food – often the large, least favorite pieces – and adds them to Ching Shih’s stash. She then gets very excited because she did the thing! A ferret thing!
The result is that Ching Shih now has a mix similar to the original.
At first glance, Elsa is doing the same thing as Ching Shih. She just missed an important detail of the behavior, not to mention its whole purpose.
As you might expect, my education geek’s brain instantly draws the comparison to how many schools tried to copy what what the school I co-created was doing, even including several details. They just missed the important ones, and the whole purpose. The result is that most schools are similar to the original that people are trying to get away from.
Drawing a direct comparison to the above ferret cuteness, we aim to offer the best. Since student needs are very personal, the “best” is also personal. It requires empowering students to have the strongest voice in their education. Nurturing personal agency, and ultimately self-actualization, is at the heart of what we do. It’s the whole purpose.
So next time you see a program that says it’s self-paced but then has due dates, or says it’s personalized but uses only canned curriculum, just remember they are confused ferrets. They often really think they are doing the thing! They just missed the point.
I found this to be particularly touching because he refers to how he couldn’t do much to help his mother when he was only a child, but he can do what he can now. I remember lamenting to my grandmother (my mother’s mother) how I wish I had become stronger sooner. My mother passed at age 56. Also, as with Sir Patrick, at a young age I too became an “expert on the escalation of violence.” So what can we do? Grow, heal, and use our uniquely forged perspectives to grow and heal the world.
This was mentioned at TEDWomen by Hillary Clinton. I will post below this video a story she shared of how a cow saved a girl. Really.
Story as told by Hilary Clinton:
“This teenage girl’s father expected to force her into early marriage, but she had been to school and she received a cow, perhaps through the Heifer project, to encourage her to stay in school. When her father demanded she drop out of school and get married, she said no. When he insisted, she insisted right back.
“And finally she pulled out her trump card: ‘If I leave and get married, I’m taking my cow, that cow belongs to me.’ So guess what. She stayed in school, she was spared an early marriage, all because her father couldn’t bear to part with the cow.”
One of the most violent places in the world now has a mostly woman police force, some unarmed, and headed by a 20-year-old? This is one to put on the radar watch… it could go so many ways too. Potential tragedy, potential triumph. Frighteningly inspiring either way.