Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela
As children all over the world start back to school after a break or vacation, we might well think about what can be taught in school that would make education a weapon? Algebra? Biology? French? Maybe. To change the world, our children will need resilience, integrity, imagination and the ability to care for all others. We must teach them NOT to discriminate on the basis of color, of religion, of gender or of immigration status.
And how do we do this?
By encouraging risk and allowing failure; how else will a child learn to get up if he has never fallen?
By insisting on the truth, however small the issue; we all must learn that truth is the way to real understanding.
My allowing the creative imagination to flourish; by not having answers at the ready and instead waiting for the student to find the answer or solve the problem by herself.
By modeling the love required to accept and respect all others.
With Nelson Mandela as a model, we want the education for our children that will allow them to change the world; to fight prejudice; to address adversaries with calm respect; and to insist on the hard work of truth-telling. That includes, of course, telling truth to power – this requires respect, civility and a steady voice. We want our children to be leaders in their communities and in the world, and it is education that will point the way.