Create A Receiving Space

584. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

A week ago I went to several classrooms and told the Polar Bear King story. I intended to do an experiment: tell the story but approach it from many different access points, perhaps tell it through movement, engage the kids in a poetry exploration, etc. I bailed on my intention and simply told the story – or in most cases, only told a part of the story. I left the kids hanging, wondering what would happen next. In the morning, prior to going into the schools, I sorted my thoughts; I wrote what was important and why I wanted to tell this particular story. Here’s what I wrote in my journal:

“Long ago people knew that things like reading and writing and arithmetic were important things to learn but they knew something that we’ve forgotten: if the next generation does not know how to be powerful (personally and collectively), if each child does not know the difference between power and control, then all the other stuff is meaningless.

People taught this, and other things, through stories. They knew that to tell a story was an act of power. They would not simply begin telling a story, they would first transform their space to a place where power might be given and received. Sometimes that meant going to a special place, sometimes it meant creating a central fire or rearranging the existing space.”

Before telling the story to the classes, I asked the students to create a space – and enter the space – so that they were ready to receive a story. They knew just what to do; it is in our dna. They moved desks and chairs, they created inclusive spaces, they got under desks and tables; they made themselves comfortable. And then they listened. They gave their attention so that they might receive the story.

Each time I enter a school I think, “This is madness.” It is a forced march to content delivery, a test factory. As John would say, “We are a penny wise and a pound foolish.” Yet, in the midst of all the madness, the kids know how to create a space to receive – and their first action, in each classroom, was to blow apart the rows, get on the floor, and challenge me to bring something real to them. [to be continued]

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