As parents we are raised to have a dream for our kids—we want them to be happy, adjusted, successful. We want them to live meaningful lives, to contribute in positive ways, and to find and live a life that matters.
And the ticket for making that dream come true? A good education.
We have told our kids that if you get good grades, follow the rules and comply to standards and requirements, you will “get into a good college”, find a “good job”, and be set for a happy life ahead.
And now we are discovering individually and collectively that this there’s a different dream available, one that’s actually closer to who we are as humans, that’s more exciting and significantly more likely to affect the world in a positive way.
Now for the million dollar question….Do schools today offer a good education; one that allows for and enables dreams to be fulfilled?
Here’s a peek:
Instead of amplifying dreams, school destroys them. Every day, beginning the first day and continuing until the last day, our teachers and our administrators and yes, most parents, seeking to do the right thing, end up doing the wrong one.
We mean well. We let our kids down easy.We tell ourselves that we are realistic. We demand that students have a trade to fall back on, an assembly-line job available just in case the silly dreams don’t come true. And then, fearing heartbreak, we push them to bury the dream and focus on just the job. The job with a boss and an office and air conditioning and a map of what to do next. A job with security and co-workers and instructions and deniability. And when the job doesn’t come?
When all the dues are paid and for nothing?
The manifesto is a series of provocations, ones that might make you go “Ouch” and ones that I hope will resonate and provoke global conversations.
His intention: To create a new set of questions and demands that parents, taxpayers, and kids can bring to the people they’ve chosen, the institution we’ve built and invested our time and money into.
Questions that we have been asking and pondering ourselves; questions like:
- What if we could amplify each kid’s natural inclination to dream, ignite their passions, and give them the tools to learn more, and faster, in a way that’s never been seen before?
- What if play mattered? What if we gave kids and their teachers permission to play, and encouraged it as part of their education and not free time?
- What if it was possible to teach habits, attitudes, and mindsets most desired for this new and ever-changing environment?
- What if our curriculum taught things like bravery, risk taking, and other attributes that would make our schools and our society stronger?
- What if we were committed to and actively working on honoring and fueling kid’s dreams?
- What if we honored passion over obedience; nurtured genius over mastery?
- What if we didn’t just ask students to participate; we expected and supported it?
- What if we asked these questions: Do you want to learn this? Will you decide to become good at this? Who will you help because of it? How will you lead and serve with?
Like Seth’s previous projects; This is an experiment in firestarting.—I’m hoping that great lenghts he has gone to make these ideas available to a pruposely wide audience will get the fire blazing across every medium, mode, and channel!
If you’re interested in the topic (and I hope you are), please tweet or like the project page, download the files, post mirror copies on your own blog and if you can, email them to every teacher, parent and citizen who should be part of the discussion about what we do with our kids all day (and why). If just a fraction of this blog’s readers shared it with their address book, we’d reach a lot of people.
The details of the Manifesto can be found here, and the document itself is embedded below. Seth has also gone to great lengths to make these ideas available to a purposefully wide audience. The entire manifesto free and available in multiple formats and forms. Just pick your favorite:
- The On Screen version Use this one to read it on a computer or similar device. Feel free to email to the teachers, parents and administrators in your life.
- The Printable edition This is the same document, but formatted for your laser printer or the local copy shop. You are welcome to make copies, but please don’t charge for it or edit it.
- Here’s the Kindle edition You’ll need to download it and then plug in your Kindle via a USB cable. Drag the file to the Documents folder on your Kindle and boom, you’re done.
- The ePub edition This should work with other types of ebook readers, but I haven’t tested it. Your mileage may vary, and if it doesn’t work, the PDF should.
- The manifesto in HTML on the web Useful for PDFs ; easier to read.
I highly encouraging all my readers to read it and share the manifesto with anyone and everyone they know who are passionate about a new dream of education for our children.