If we were a family gathered around the kitchen table considering a challenge or a set of problems, we would identify the resources we have and make some decisions to start down a path of solution, effective immediately. The process would be simple, straightforward. Translated to a K-12 service initiative, it would look like this:
Large scale problem solving among ourselves is dysfunctional – a broken machine. We are not all participating in addressing our challenges and we don’t sustain our problem solving engagements. We need to make a change in how we develop as a people; we need to make a change in the education of our youth. When asked what would motivate them to learn, our youth tell us they want participation and inclusion in real-life problem solving, but we have not listened.
Our youth have fresh perspective and altruistic capabilities. They forgive and adapt easily: they work well together. Our youth bring a large support population with them: teachers, parents, extended family members, community members and organizations – people who want to see youth growing as citizens engaged in their community and applying their education.
We can include our youth in addressing the challenges we face. We can involve them in real-life work and provide opportunities to apply solutions and network with others. Emerging young adults in middle and high school can build on a well-organized K-6 foundation. Our youth need to practice present-day problem solving in real time – throughout their education.
- Organize our resources – solutions already created – by topic
- Order these topic areas by grade level, starting in kindergarten
- Use service learning to merge community service with education
- Join community non-profits in sustained dialogue and work with youth
- Connect youth nationwide at each grade level
- Cultivate a positive, widespread infection that reorients our perspective on our world
We have everything we need to create a plan and move into action. To request an office for this work at the national level is like having a large piece of construction paper to map out a plan on the kitchen table. To involve our youth would be including all family members in responsible, problem-solving endeavor, knowing that we were teaching and strengthening our family unit as we better our circumstances. We have simply to organize and move forward with our youth.