The Power of One
During winter break, I felt like one of our Lower School’s voracious readers. The time off allowed me an opportunity to read every day ─ for an extended period of time—and the texts I read were ones that I was interested in, I had chosen, and were “just right” for me. No wonder our Lower School students enjoy reading so much!
I read a wide range of texts that included:
- Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn by Cathy Davidson (She will be a guest speaker on campus March 19!)
- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
- Women of the Bible: 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups by Jean E. Syswerda
- Ravenscroft School Magazine (Winter 2012 edition)
These texts have nothing in common. Now You See It is a nonfiction book written by a Duke University professor who is passionate about redesigning the way our schools and workplaces function. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a work of fiction about a 9-year-old boy struggling to deal with the loss of his father after the 9/11 attacks. The 2012 winter edition of Ravenscroft magazine features articles on leadership and community giving. The Women of the Bible tells the stories of 52 female heroes in the bible, and this week my study group was reading about The Widow with Two Coins.
It was when I read the following quote by John Replogle in Ravenscroft magazine that I made a connection with a common theme in the different texts:
“Finally, as beneficiaries of the legacy of leaders that have built the School before us and with four daughters, we felt compelled, as Steve Jobs put it, to make our dent in the world. We can’t expect other people to provide an extraordinary education for our children without being a positive contributor to that end.”
I read John’s quote shortly after I had read a chapter from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close that included this piece of dialogue between 9-year-old Oskar and his father:
“Well, what would happen if a plane dropped you in the middle of the Sahara Desert and picked up a single grain of sand with tweezers and moved it one millimeter?”
“I guess I would have moved a grain of sand.”
“Which would mean?”
“Which would mean I moved a grain of sand?”
“Which would mean you changed the Sahara.”
“So? So the Sahara is a vast desert. And it has existed for millions of years. And you changed it!”
Too often we hesitate to initiate or participate in change efforts because we question how much influence or impact we will actually have in creating substantive, positive change.
The Widow with Two Coins gave an offering of less than a penny at church; she didn’t question whether it was an amount that would make a difference, it was all the money she had and her faith led her to give everything she could.
As I read Cathy Davidson’s book and realized how her words were challenging me as an educator to change the way school is designed for students, I also recognized that thousands of other educators were also reading her book and being changed as well. One book, written by one woman, has the potential to lead and inspire countless educators to change the way schools function for children. One individual will make a positive difference for schools across the globe.
I am excited about our leadership initiatives here at Ravenscroft because I already see so many members of our community making a difference locally, nationally, and globally. I believe as we become even more intentional with our efforts, our students will become change agents that others will be reading about and learning from.
The reading I did during winter break – though the texts may have been filled with variety – inspired me with one simple realization: an individual and their actions have the power to make a difference in creating positive change.
Number one image from: http://www.richardcleaver.com/2011/11/18/the-one-percent-in-canada/