As an influential human that's in front of children weekly, monthly, annually for the last 35+ years: I have a HUGE OPNION about our status quo & I appreciate this forum for diverse adults to gather, contemplate, & create.
Let me go back a bit - journey back with me to when we were in HS. Who were you then? Who are you now? Same person? If this was you now in 10th grade, what would YOU do today?
I remember the day I KNEW HS was full of shit. I was in 10th grade. I knew I was smart. I exercised my intelligence doing theatre,sports, student gov't, debate team etc...I had already completed all my NYS graduation requirements. Why was I there? What was the point to stay there, taking primarily electives, instead of reaching beyond that classroom 'cause I was ready for 'adulthood' before the 'system' wanted me ready. My parents tried to grow me slow, but I was really smart - easily bored; the reason I'm an artist, I suppose...anyway - this was almost 40 years ago when anything outside of 'systematic' 'steeple' behavior was considered radical. Oh yeah, I also made dumb, immature choices, acted silly with my friends, and other rites of passage I gather.
I remember we used to call people names, were you called any? We stereo-typed each other, remember 'redlining'? (Good thing that doesn't happen anymore!) Many young people who thought 'outside the box' were looked at as subversive, failing, or perhaps if lucky, brilliant - if their family supported them (as opposed to a household who valued societal ideals more than their own) I know I was one of these 'brilliant' leaders in my school because I had a voice my peers recognized. Remember, I was highly exercising my intelligence @ 15-16 years old, what about you? I also was an influencer for those who needed leadership. I was on TV - had a cable show, wrote songs, was un-shy....16 was awesomely powerful & the pre-cursor to the woman I was becoming. So to cut class was often a group activity of like minded peers, who also felt like me. My senior year? I cut mostly all my classes because all that 'free time' taught me how to maneuver. I cut out of classes by being on committees, in clubs, in the music program, an athlete, etc. I had important reasons to leave school. Maybe TODAY is THAT opportunity for ONE student to find conviction within their feelings, to find the power of like minded peers, & maybe see 'outside the box.' Maybe this is international? Maybe lives will change for the greater good of mankind, or at least HS students from now on.
Cut to 30 years later and me being a parent - of Bethlehem HS students. My kids, with their gadgets and brilliance, shaped their world in front of my eyes. My children didn't need my approval of their convictions, & exercised their process in the home - so this movement involves more than students, huh? I was proud of my kids decisions, still am. I trust my kids. I notice how they are with their peers. It's all good for this generation that exercise their will in a time of great technology & intelligence. As an educator, I trust that I'm doing my best job. Family does it's best job. Children grow. More are coming. New ones arriving as I type.
Who are the children in your life? What is the relationship you have with them? What behaviors, attitudes, & values do you model in their life? Up until this January, I taught students how to protest based on MY dated perspective. February 12th then 14th changed me inside. My cells quiver at the thought... These students who are showing up for themselves today not just in PA but, all over - inspire me to tell a more truthful truth to them because this generation...this generation is not like us, not like my daughters.
THIS generation living thru THESE times in the US, who are OUR caregivers when we're 90, well, they're the game changers to all that we have known and insist on hanging onto. We have to be very mindful on a big picture level, to some degree, where change is happening because it's needed because it's the truth. When you're young, you perhaps are still close enough to where truth originates & resonates in your cells.
Daily, I do my best to not practice fear, but love, as I weave and tour around the globe, appealing to young people in so many places. They're good people. They're here & next to succeed in life. In reflection of students walking out of HS today as a statement about #Fuckin'GUNSman, I'm helping the global awareness of humanity raise with every show & story I tell. I'm still smart & recognize what's rapidly going on in this country. I also travel to other countries and take a look at the US from there....we're interesting sheeple. But, actions really DO speak louder than words. The only thing I can support, change, or influence is myself. I'm cultivating the nature of compassion. sympathy, & empathy so I know the difference between the actions/emotions/molecules. This way, I can commit MY actions in support of my changing planet. If a minute concern is truancy, what can I do to support this changing planet? How can my experiences help students learn? What can I REALLY do about it? How can I make my words action? Seems we've made it to right now. We lived, grew & became ourselves today, huh?I'm excited to see how this will spread via social media throughout the world. Amazing. It's not a walk out, but a walk up. Watch the polls & candidates presto chango in front of our eyes.
Today is someone's tomorrow.