great exercise to get students to say their mission publically before the school.
At the end, he said something powerful. The first thing one needs to do to when leading a purposeful life is to say what it is that you want to do. Articulate it aloud. And that is scary. Making it public so you can hear yourself say it, but also so someone else can hear you say it. So it becomes real instead of this thing that bounces around in your head but never gets out. And so at the end, he told everyone to be quiet, and he was going to say something he wanted to do, and then afterwards there should be silence… and when anyone else wanted to say something they wanted to do — something they would declare out loud — they should stand up and say it, and then remain standing. This was an open invitation to the students in these honors societies, but also to the parents and teachers there as well.
The speaker said: “I want to change the world.”
A little more silence where everyone looked around and felt uncomfortable.
Then a student — one courageous student — got up and said something. And remained standing.
And then another. And another.
The head of the upper school said something. Then more students. Then a parent. Then me. Then another math teacher. Then more students.
At the end, every student made a declaration, and a few adults too. It is scary. But it also showed me how much courage our kids have. Their declarations ranged from showing others that girls can do math and science to spreading love to making people laugh to promoting peace to inventing something to becoming a biochemist to making a mark on the world. Big things and small things, lofty things and concrete things, but all things that share with the room a sense of self and a sense of purpose.
I loved watching this.
I also loved and hated how hard it was for me to come up with my thing. My purpose in life. I said:
I want to make it so that kids see math as an artistic and creative endeavor.