Sunday, February 3, 2013

"We're raising boys..."

This is cross-posted from Grow Boys Red Deer at http://www.reddeergrowboys.com/. I have been involved with the Grow Boys project for three years now, and it has been one of the most rewarding initiatives I have taken on. For more information on the Grow Boys concept, please get in touch and we can talk.

Dad and Son by Ryan Qiu, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  Ryan Qiu 


My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard.
Mother would come out and say,
"You're tearing up the grass!"
"We're not raising grass," Dad would reply.
"We're raising boys." -author unknown

We are raising boys. All of us. No matter who we are in the community, whether we are a parent or not; we all have a responsibility to support the happy, healthy growth and development of boys. Of course we need to do this for girls as well, but Grow Boys is a collective that focuses specifically on what can be done to nurture the particular needs of boys; and there are many. As the dad in the poem suggests, we need to take a critical and reflective perspective toward what our boys need from us, and how we're going to provide for them.

inner child by Dave_B_, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  Dave_B_ 

Herbert Vilakazi's opening address to the National Association of Child Care Workers 1991 Biennial Conference (http://tinyurl.com/yfxzdwn) in South Africa provides one such perspective with his brilliant insight to how we need to think and act if we are to support today's children as our gifts to the future.
"The problems of children and of youth, giving rise to child and youth care programs, can only begin to be solved in that society of humankind’s dream; a more collective-oriented society than at present, when the father of the child shall be every man as old as the child’s father; when the mother of the child shall be every woman as old as the child’s mother; a society of responsibility of the entire community; a society without poverty; without the inequalities of society members, based upon race, class, or sex; a society without the use of violence against other members of society; a society without any exploitation and oppression of any group by any other group; a society of equals; a thoroughly democratic society; last, but not least a society that shall have, once more, incorporated productive labor into the educational process."

Answers need questions...



Generally speaking, questions need answers, but a colleague reminded me this past week that some answers need questions too.

Learning slows down drastically, or even stops completely when we get to a point where we believe we know everything we need to know about something. When we think we have all the answers, perhaps that is when we need to question things even more. Innovation to me isn't necessarily a completely new approach, idea or process. Innovation can often mean a retooling of elements that already exist.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” ― Marcel Proust
At the heart of inquiry is the art of questioning. I believe the "voyage of discovery" Proust refers to is entirely about perspective. When learners instigate their own and others thoughts through questioning they are pushing the boundaries of perspective. Challenging our conventions about learning and knowledge happens in that cognitive place where time is taken to deconstruct what we think we know about how things should be, and where unencumbered thought magically turns into innovation. I am encouraging this process within my classroom.
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