These things are important.
But as we saw this week in the tragedy of Charleston and as we see everywhere in our state, our nation, and our world, there is a need for other skills, as well.
The skills of empathy, social intelligence, self-awareness, kindness, generosity, forgiveness, gentleness, patience, community-building, compromise, compassion.
Hit the link to read more.
Without these things, we may win the deal, the race, or the war - but lose ourselves, our people, our planet.
For life is much more than a race, a business, a battle just as the elk species is more than two stags tangling antlers in the Fall or the United States of America is more than Wall Street.
To my mind, Adult Education and Adult Schools, more than any other branch of public education, embody the understanding that life is complex, difficult, and at times overwhelming, and our transcending its challenges demands not just a knowledge of facts and figures but deep reserves of personal strength and emotional intelligence and a community which supports both our internal and external development.
Many Adult Learners are coping with serious hardships, including poverty, trauma, lack of familial support and material resources, institutionalized racism, and illiteracy. The solution to these problems is found not just in the memory of facts, the learning of a language, or the acquisition of a certificate or diploma. They are found in the hard-to-master "soft skills" such as patience, kindness, forbearance, compromise, community-building, commitment, generosity, perseverance, understanding of self and other and relationship.
Compassion for self and other are found and fostered in Adult School classrooms every day. This is what makes Adult Education so powerful, transformative, and effective. This is why so many Adult Learners express such gratitude to the Adult School system and why so many Adult School teachers describe their job as the best job they've ever had.
In the rush to be College and Career Ready, to meet the new guidelines and do what we think will bring in the funding, let's not forget our special contribution to the field of Public Education: acknowledging our full humanity as learners, teachers, individual, and community members, seeing the need for compassion, patience, and community, and taking action to meet it, knowing each of us has the power to make a positive difference.
Knowing what we do about the value and efficacy of compassion in the classroom and the world, we have the responsibility to speak up and share what we know with the other branches of Public Education and the larger world.
In Charleston, in California, in the world, compassion matters.
Are we ready?
The #1000 Speak project is effort to remember the importance of compassion on the 20th of every month. Learn more here:
Here's the blogger from whom I learned about the project.