Quote of the Week #609

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Are you an optimist or a pessimist?  Perhaps, as the quote below suggests, we need both.  There may be some who wish to always work from the end of the spectrum where all energy is devoted to trying to imagine what could possibly ever go wrong and then to developing elaborate plans to take account of every possibility.

We will always need, however, optimists who are willing to see beyond and push back the horizon of possibility for a better future.

It is, like so much, a case of getting the balance right.  Just part of ‘Doing what’s best.’

Both optimists and pessimists contribute to our society.  The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute.  ~ Gil Stern

And, what a wonderful idea: a future we can already describe with warmth and fondness, hugging to ourselves the joy in knowing that we assisted its creation.

Optimists are nostalgic about the future.  ~ Chicago Tribune

Quote of the week #509

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Some of the events of the last week: fires, floods and other examples which show that we are, after all, simply creatures like any other within a world environment which has a power far beyond our ability to meddle with it, demonstrate that we must make the creation of possibility a key goal.  Optimism and hope all combine to allow us to imagine a future where the world is a better place.

Teaching people skills, without giving them a vision for a better future; a vision based on common values; is only training.Nido Qubein

A new generation of leaders

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This week, as another group of school leaders stood ready to accept their accoutrements of office, I had the opportunity to reflect upon what leadership might mean, and tell this to a hall full of students and proud parents.

It was good that we acknowledged the traditional custodians of the land, and acknowledge the passage of time, the continuity of culture and the richness which comes when we are able to effectively balance our need for renewal with a conservation of things of value from the past.

leadershandsOur leaders of today will be the leaders of tomorrow. 

Leadership is about that curious ability to be at once part of the scrum of human reality and its scrabble for existence, but to also rise above, and perceive a horizon of possibility which extends to more distant places.  Vision, hope and aspiration to the expectation that ‘just because it is, does not mean it has to be.’

This was happening on a day of bizarre juxtaposition: red Valentine’s roses handed out on Black Friday, and the horror of fire and its aftermath. 

There are some seismic shifts happening.

The election of Barack Obama goes beyond the fact that he is the first African American to be elected President. It also demonstrates that the harnessing of the internet, of social networking and the ability to connect in very meaningful ways with an entire new generation of voters made a dream a reality.  We are now into an era where few would be bold enough to suggest the absolute impossibility of much at all. The affect of the internet world has moved mainstream.

In Australia, we see the imminent rollout of the National Secondary Schools Computer Fund.  The implications are at once both exciting and frightening.  We have a huge challenge in supporting the transformational shifts needed in pedagogy but know that this program places the idea that the internet is here to stay right in the very middle of mainstream thought.  And that, is a good thing!

Leaders need to see beyond the melee of human existence and help us see that more is possible.

I am confident that the young leaders we see in front of us are wonderful people, and while they are challenged to compound the successes and shifts of recent times, they will make it happen: because they can.

Inferno – Quote of the week #409

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We have all, no doubt, been humbled and horrified by the scenes from the fires in Victoria: the sheer magnitude of human tragedy and the stories which will continue to be told.  It leads us to reflect upon the nature of material possessions, of absolute failure to begin to understand the motivation for those who would start such a blaze, and awe at the power of nature with its capability to create an inferno on earth.

Each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. 

~ Edgar Allan Poe

Our thoughts are with those whose lives have been taken from them, in each and every sense of the words.

Quote of the Week #309

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Given the lifetime in which this was written, its invitation to consider a humanist curriculum is wonderful!

The entire object of true education, is to make people not merely do the right thing, but to enjoy right things; not merely industrious, but to love industry; not merely learned, but to love knowledge.

John Ruskin (1819-1900)

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