February 22

Where is the shuttlecock?

My friend and colleague Terry Elliott in habitual style has caused me to question and wonder. He and I had a Zoom “picnic” not long ago in which he gave me a brief overview of “rewilding,” and some of his process related to his own rewilding journey. He could explain it much more elegantly than I; a succinct way he describes its purpose is, “it helps me find my own and others’ blind spots, and gets me to consider walking other paths, other desire lines.”

Terry has brought his exploring mind to our “Daring Classrooms” exploration of Brené Brown’s book Dare to Lead and has challenged me to think more deeply and more broadly about the concepts we are exploring, and Brown’s take on them. In our discussion yesterday, we developed “permission slips,” and in part due to Terry’s contributions to the conversation, I realized I needed to give myself permission to question Brown’s viewpoint, and to evaluate for myself what a Daring Classroom looks like.

All of us in the Daring Classrooms discussion agreed it is easy to think “our way” is the best. I have revised and refined my practices continuously over the years, what in the business world is referred to as continuous process improvement. One danger of me conducting this work in a semi-bubble is that my perception of what is improvement is by definition incomplete. As I have modified my practices and observed positive changes in one area, I may have unwittingly created a negative change elsewhere that I am oblivious to. Therefore, I am grateful to Terry for his questioning mind that pushes me to dig deeper, reflect more meaningfully.

I am also glad Terry batted the shuttlecock to my court, as it revived a beautiful memory of my now 27-year-old son as a small child, three or four. He and I were playing badminton, and I taught him the word shuttlecock. And laughed uproariously at the shocked faces of the parents when he trotted the word out during his next badminton match with his young friends. Just as I laughed when his younger brother amazed people when he rattled off the “doubles” times tables up to 12×12 when he was three or four. You see, it’s not the kids who are limited in their learning, it is us as adults who limit what we allow them to learn.

Alright, Terry, I’m waiting with bated breath for the next volley.