I was thinking a bit about hope this morning. When you think about the kinds of things that will the world around us better, hope is pretty much the bedrock. You can't rebuild a city, or a neighborhood, or even a human heart without the hope that something better is there just beneath the surface.
Life can wear away at your hopeful edges. It can turn you cynical or make you jaded. You can close your heart to possibilities and look at everyone around you and make snap decisions based on those cynical views. "Oh, course," we tell ourselves, "I knew they couldn't be trusted." But in a lot of ways it is that very expectation that makes those darker ideas come true.
Case in point, when I expect my students to create something innovative and beautiful, and provide them with the tools to do so, they usually do. If I look at their upturned faces, and respond with, "Yes, I think that is an interesting idea. Let's see how it plays out." Which is what I told a group of 4th grade girls two years ago when they declared they were going to "fix cancer". "Which cancer?" I asked. "All of it." They responded. They carried with them the optimistic hope of being 10. Wouldn't that be awesome? They whispered to one another. It would have been easy to explain to them the impossibility of this goal but then something deep inside me whispered right along with them, Wouldn't that be awesome?
Maybe that is a bad example because now you are thinking I am some kind of hippy, dippy YOU-CAN-DO-IT!, everyone gets a trophy kind of hope. It isn't that at all. I suppose it is more a desire to let hope live in my heart; let it nestle in deep so that I am quick to rush in to support that hope that is living in others. I guess it could be described as the antithesis of an aggressive realism that pervades the world today. I am tired of saying "no" or "probably not". One of the most profound speeches I ever heard when I was younger was a recording of Ted Kennedy speaking at his brother Robert's funeral. "Some see things as they are, and ask why. I dream things that have never been and ask, 'Why not?'" I carry those phrases around with me. Why can't we make things better? Why can't we be the ones to build a kinder world? Why can't our town determine that every single child matters and that we must ensure that every single one deserves the best education in all the world because they are ours? Why can't we be the ones to start a radical revolution toward kindness, generosity and hope?
Keep moving forward,