How did I get here?
This is the question I continue to ask myself.
How did I end up in a community called the Creative Revolution? A worldwide community of educators, starters of initiatives and foundations, technologists, parents, academics, published authors, advocates and protectors of the arts, filmmakers and me.
In any other context, my presence here makes little, if any, sense. I have a four-year degree that I managed to squeeze into six. I was a salesman for years. The fact that my wares included textbooks and educational software is just coincidental and to some, comical. Yet here I am.
This community, however, is different. In this space my being here makes total sense. What brings this incredible group of people together is the shared inspiration of Sir Ken Robinson. He, Sir Ken, is certainly why I am here.
When I first heard SKR’s famous Ted Talk, it was in a professional capacity. I am now a consultant working in schools as an “Innovation Specialist” (a title I gave myself because it sounds cool). While the talk was indeed in line with my philosophy for much needed change in education, it was more than that to me. It was funny. It was sincere. It was one of those life changing moments. It was familiar. You see, I am the student SKR was speaking of. I am the student he sought to engage and inspire. I am the student who just needed to be seen and given the right conditions to flourish. I was the one that struggled to fit in the educational box. I finally heard someone put into words the frustrations I had felt and experienced. I heard someone put into words what I couldn’t explain to the adults who continually asked me “why can’t you get it together?”. I was told I needed more self-discipline and organization. I know now that I needed someone to understand that I was capable and hungry to learn, I just needed a different box.
I am certain that I am not alone and the talks and books authored by Sir Ken have had, in many ways, a deep impact on us all. His sincerity is felt in every word and his quick wit, masterful. His words make things that seem impossible to so many, something we believe we can achieve. Only SKR possessed the eloquence to make a TedTalk on education reform the most watched of all time. Again, it is for this reason that we are here. All of us.
Last fall I had the great pleasure of meeting Kate Robinson. It was such an emotional moment for me. In an on-line session for a conference half a world away, she called on me during the Q&A portion. Through tears, I was able to share with her what her father had meant to me and how he had inspired me to devote the last half of my life to seeking the change he envisioned. I recognized immediately the same SKR sincerity and wit in Kate. She was so gracious and appreciative. I now consider her a friend. She has been so kind to include me in continuing the work of her dad. It is one of the great honors of my life. As I have said many times, the mission and work of Sir Ken Robinson is in very capable hands.
So, that’s how I got here. I believe my purpose here is to encourage. I encourage all of you to keep believing that change is not only necessary, it is possible. My own experience has taught me that we sometimes get overwhelmed and the slightest bit of encouragement can build the confidence needed to succeed.
We are all here for different reasons and the diversity of our collective experiences and talents is what makes us strong even in our infancy. Together we will be a force for change. As I look at all of the accomplishments of so many in our community, it is clear the work is being done and the change is becoming visible in places all over the world. I believe that we find ourselves in a time of amazing opportunity and am reminded of the conclusion of the SKR TedTalk on escaping education’s “Death Valley”…