Incite the Makers of Movements

Incite the Makers of Movements

Incite the makers of movements.

There it was. Five words had brought into focus what it was that had driven the past 20 years of fighting to change the way we inspire and challenge our children to learn. Quotationals co-founder, William Beshears, and I had started our 5-day retreat with thoughts of expanding Quotationals into a larger network of disruptive education programs. We wanted to change the way students, parents, teachers and administrators approach learning.

We’ve had tutoring programs, alternative curricula and our most recent pride and joy, Quotationals. Now we were gearing up for work with poetry, creative writing and photography. We’ve done a lot of great work. Thousands of students enriched. But even if we were able to connect with other inspired educators and their own amazing programs it didn’t seem like it was ever going to be enough. Because the movement couldn’t quite catch the momentum it needed to overcome the constant disappointments, the battles with bureaucracy and ineptitude‚Ķnot without finding a way to continuously fuel the fire.

The movement. We kept coming back to those words.

We made a deliberate and deep commitment to examine our purpose, the core values that had remained the constant for us over the years. After all, why did we want to change education? Because we wanted our students to get good grades? To get into college? To get better jobs? No. The reason we wanted to change education is because we wanted the students to emerge best prepared to contribute to our world as free, creative thinkers with purpose. We wanted to invest in the minds that had yet to be shackled by the limitations our adulthood binds to us. We wanted to help those who would take up the cause, to start and drive the movements.

The makers of movements.

So our greatest contribution would be to help prepare these makers of movements. To help inspire their hearts, prepare their minds, and empower their actions. To spark the fire.

To incite.

We love that. That phrase frightens most folks because often it brings disruption. It’s a call to action for impassioned individuals, for those individuals to unite to challenge the status quo.

Incite the makers of movements.

These five words will be the North Star that guides our efforts in disruptive education, our mission. Our philosophy will be grounded on the core belief that:

The assumption of truth carries with it an obligation to question.

The path of a maker of movements can be a lonely one. The obstacles can seem insurmountable. Your conviction, commitment and devotion will be tested constantly. When that strength falters, it will be the people that rally around you that carries you through. Though the journey may begin with a single step a movement, by definition, requires more than one. The behaviors that guide our mission will serve to inspire and unite:

Part ways leaving others feeling enriched.
Create pivotal moments of change.
Punctuate progress with deliberate moments of meaningful celebration.

There is one more important element that Will and I deeply believe in:

Ritual immortalizes culture.

This is the reason why Will and I begin each thoughtful discussion with a tea ceremony. It serves to focus our minds and intent on the topic at hand. It is a ritual that can be shared and passed on to others. It is a powerful talisman to draw strength from. Long after we have been forgotten, rituals remain to connect generations.

I am sure this is just the first of many important retreats we’ll take to further define and hone our endeavor. The wording will most certainly change. The belief and commitment will not. I feel as deeply committed as ever to contribute what I can to our young people, that they might yet do the things I cannot.

The weekend retreat and approach was enlightening and empowering. To read more on that, visit: The Importance of Deliberate Discussion of Purpose and Culture.