Moving Forward

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The exceptional must become common; we need to move beyond acknowledgment of outstanding projects and shift to widespread replication of those projects so they become commonplace everywhere. With common models, we can add, refine, and share in the larger celebration of what we are accomplishing in our community, our state, and across the nation.

We could begin with the next class of kindergartners or start with a variety of elementary grade projects. A few school-wide projects such as Food2Share or a program that aims at zero waste provide opportunity for all students to get onboard in their schools and nationwide. Our kids will get this. They will see the beginnings of something they can believe in, something they can invest in and be proud of, something that allows them to contribute and find success beyond the framework of test scores and grades.

As we become more involved in doing, we have less time to argue because interest in ideas that work takes over and we find commonality in that. The evidence of accomplishment strengthens unity. As we create this new initiative and move beyond preexisting definitions, questions or potential obstacles will arise. Beyond the projects, we need to prepare to meet these questions and obstacles to keep our forward momentum.

We need to ask whether any idea strengthens or weakens our ability to move forward: Does it help us achieve better outcomes, or does it hold us back with unnecessary processes and paperwork? Does the idea help us to take action or complicate our ability to do so? We may find that some teachers or schools are initially resistant to participate, but with our highly developed communication systems, students everywhere can reach out and work together to problem solve start-up challenges.

The idea that any of our children should be deprived of the opportunity to give and better their communities will become unconscionable among us. As we truly come together, bringing the best of our giving, our intelligence, our communication systems, and our resources, we will generate a momentum that will carry us forward with strength, gathering more and more of us into the work of creating a better world.

Is it possible for us to agree? Of course. As Americans, we have the entrepreneurial vision to carve a new path. I have yet to encounter a teacher, principal, superintendent, parent, community member, public servant, or staff member of a community-based organization who finds fault with the logic of this initiative. When disasters occur, we mobilize, but we are capable of mobilizing without such prompts. We do this in businesses and in our families—we plan and create solutions, adjusting as we go, incorporating professional advice and considerations.

However our beginnings take off, we will create more than we already have. As we all begin, more models and ways to accomplish objectives will surface and circulate. The actions of project originators and project replicators will energize us. Even the smallest initial outcomes will inspire us. Where needs exist without solutions, American ingenuity will surface. We can do this.

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Questions? E-mail the author at sandymckane [at] gmail [dot] com.
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