I’ve read D. Scott Looney’s Why Hawken Must Lead essay at least half a dozen times, but I always find this last part so powerful:
We live in an extraordinary period of human history, a time in which the challenges of human population growth, environmental threats, economic interconnectedness, and political instability appear to be moving us forward at unprecedented, exponential rates. At the same time, we are witness to a global economy that has seen poverty throughout the world diminish (in relative terms), incredible advances in medicine, technology, and communications, and successful, large scale, multi-national cooperative efforts. The future is a paradox – terrifying, but at the same time holding great promise.
I am sure that throughout history, when looking toward the future, people have felt that they were living in an unprecedented time of challenge, change, and ambiguity. I believe, however, there is something fundamentally different about today. The pace of change has begun to hit the vertical portion of the exponential curve, and, in our children’s lifetimes, the challenges now pose a real threat to the existence of our species. (Notice I did not say “all life on earth,” as we always can count on the rat and the cockroach.)
I have to believe that any individual or group of individuals who take on these daunting challenges of the future must first possess an extraordinary capacity to see possibilities in the face of ambiguity, and, second, a powerful sense of personal agency. Our mission promises that Hawken School prepares students to navigate a complex and dynamic world with self-confidence and determination, embrace challenges with disciplined analysis and creativity and engage others with empathy and integrity.” In short, it calls for us to graduate students who are not daunted by the world’s challenges and who are equipped to be effective in the world. The promise of our efforts to move the school back to our original progressive intent is not just to provide students with terrific educational experiences and to make them ready for college; it is also to send them out into the world with the capability and moral compass to make a difference that matters.
The whole thing is worth it…