On Education

Education is the process of symbolizing rich concrete experiences so they can be reflected on, then knowledge and contemplation can inspire unlimited imagination, humility, and gratitude. Education is also the pathway to inspire and test imagination and learn to navigate the many tides of shifting reality.

Education As educators we need to touch the place where discovery of knowledge creates enthusiasm. When wild-child, Helen Keller, is simultaneously touched by gushing cold water and a symbol for the word water, communication and thus civilization begins. It begins not as language for command and control but as touch, pleasure, and language that makes reflection possible. This suggests that education is the movement from pleasing, concrete, sensory experience into reflection by deepening our awareness of symbols. 

As educators we speak of two kinds of symbols—word and number, spoken language & math, and we would be wise to extend these to music, dance, and of course the natural world. These symbol systems go to the heart of our means to manage ourselves in an ever-changing world and society. Navigating the movement between outer and inner worlds through words, numbers, and other symbols we should teach for their value should align with an individual’s development. 

SEL, STEAM, and civics are built on language and number, science, morality and art, as surely as the arc changed architecture, music expresses feeling, math is the language of engineering, and poetry and story are pathways to our evolving humanity.

Until our schools explore the vital heartbeat of language as the beginning place of personal identity and civilization and our curriculum reflects the beautiful and amazingly interconnected mystery of being in creation and creation blossoming in being, our schools will continue to fail to fully engage and humanize our potential. Where education fails, we harvest suffering; where education succeeds, we inspire a humble, creative future.



Engagement begins with impactful sensations that result either from novelty, intensity, or beauty. At certain stages that we should research in terms of age, developmental, and idiosyncratic factors, ideas can be sufficiently impactful as to elicit interest and exploration.

We can view the insufficiencies in our curriculum as related to a lack of impactful sensations and interesting ideas. The impact of textbooks and worksheets elicits yawns. The beauty or relevance of knowledge taught for tests rarely rises to concepts worthy of our attention. Thus, far too often, school as memorization is described as boring and stressful for students, and if asked, most likely boring and stressful for teachers.

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