Today is “Talk about it Tuesday”. This is a day TEACH Educational Consulting uses to support conversations about education and society. And let’s be clear. When I say “education”, I’m not just talking about the institution of school. Yes, school is a place where learning can and should occur. However, I believe that a true education moves beyond the walls of the school building. Education includes the home lives, communities, histories, experiences, dreams, and aspirations of all stakeholders. I also believe one of the best ways to educate ourselves is to talk WITH and listen TO others. This can be a difficult undertaking, especially when we are passionate about the topics. But can I issue an invitation to do so anyway? I think the past five to ten years have shown us what happens when people shift from a mindset of WITH to a mindset of AT. Shouting AT. Pointing AT. It’s not good. So as we begin these weekly conversations, let’s have the courage to share and listen WITH respect. I am certain we will all walk away better educated.
June 14th is recognized as Flag Day in the United States. It celebrates the adoption of the first official iteration of the U.S. flag by the 2nd Continental Congress. Over the years, this first official symbol of the newly minted United States of America has undergone 27 changes before arriving at the version we have today. A version that might soon change again. An indication of the dynamic nature of national ideologies.
Based on one nation’s process of designing (and redesigning) its national symbol, I think I can safely say that flags mean a lot to people. Whether it’s the flag of your nation, your favorite sports team, or your preferred non-profit organization, flags carry important symbolic messages. What is interesting to me is how those messages vary based on our positions and perspectives. The image of The Stars and Stripes can mean one thing for veterans (thank you for your service!), another for indigenous peoples across the nation, and something else again for African-Americans. So who’s right? Dare I say we all are? We are all diverse people sharing a common world and interpreting the messages of that world differently. One of the goals of education is to be able to honor that diversity and see it as an asset and not a liability. At TEACH, we empower students to celebrate their uniqueness within a common human condition. We believe that when individual value means collective respect, we all become better. Conversely, when we devalue others for our own gain, we have to call a flag on the play. So let’s talk about it this Tuesday! What is YOUR favorite flag? What does it mean to you? How does this symbol align with who you are? I look forward to what we can learn about one another as we share the symbols and messages that mean the most. The first step in learning is an open ear. Hopefully, we will hear each other today.