Warriors Wanted

Warriors Wanted

Dreaming is easy.  Turning dreams into reality is hard.  Turning really big dreams into reality is the hardest; this is the path of the warrior. Turning education from the industrial age to the future is one of those big dreams.  Therefore, by the immutable rules of logic, we need warriors.

The warrior is a parent, maybe even a single parent, or a parent who has lost a job and leaves home day after day to search for that elusive new one that will allow them to create opportunities for their children that they did not have themselves.

The warrior is the athlete, artist, or researcher with passion, putting in years of sweat and practice, knowing that even with all of that, one in a hundred or a thousand will make it to London next week, to Carnegie Hall next year, or to the cure in this lifetime.

The warriors are the peacemakers, risking their lives to protect little girls from acid thrown by our generations’ descendants of the SS, the NKVD, the KKK, the Inquisitor, because the little girl had the bad luck to be born a little girl.

The warrior is the explorer, the Sally Ride and Amelia Earhart and John Hunter, who take personal risks to show that the universe is always much larger than we ever thought it to be.

The warrior is the teacher, like so many of you reading this blog, who rallies against inertia, apathy, political pressure, fear, a resource vacuum, to step outside of convention, take risks, turn the tough dream of a better way to teach into the reality of a next generation skilled to do better than we have done in the past.

I am reading Leon Uris’ novel of post-war Berlin, Armageddon, so my bar for the warrior is high.  Faced at home with a country weary of war and sacrifice, a handful of warriors, just months after defeating the lightning horrors of Nazism, refused to abandon two million Berliners to the equally dark pit of Stalinism.  Our bar for true warriors is the Greatest Generation, not because they picked up guns, but because they turned impossible dreams into reality.

We don’t have a lot of hero-warriors in public life today.  Our political leaders on both ends of the spectrum have largely confused courage with self-serving fanaticism.  Few of our star athletes and artists in the limelight pay more than lip service to anything larger than their egos. They are horrible role models for our young people.  But we educators get these kids seven, eight, even ten hours a day.  A good teacher teaches what is in the curriculum.  The warrior teaches algebra AND passion; English AND courage; physics AND peacemaking; history AND resolve. We can teach them who they need to be if we stop working so hard teaching them what they need to be. This is a dream that has finally started to peek out from the dark, but it won’t become a reality unless we educators adopt the ways of the warrior.

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By | 2012-07-24T15:29:53+00:00 July 24th, 2012|Governance and leadership, Innovation in Education|7 Comments

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  1. Mr. Cummings July 25, 2012 at 10:42 am - Reply

    Wow. Thanks for such an inspiring post. I think I’m going to add a Grant Lichtman warrior quote to my inspiration wall. May there be more warriors in classrooms this fall.

    • glichtman July 25, 2012 at 2:11 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Mr. C! Maybe some of those kids who ID their heroes for you will see how those heroes are warriors, each in their own way, and probably by the end of the year, some will have evidenced progress you or they can report out on!

  2. Terry Elliott (@tellio) July 25, 2012 at 11:03 am - Reply

    Just what we need– another war metaphor. You would think we would have learned how destructive these are–war on drugs, war on poverty, war on ‘fill in blank here’. Combine that with a ‘waiting’ on superman attitude and a reference to some golden age fallacy ‘greatest generation’ and you have the toxic mix that stands for ‘education reform’ today.

    • glichtman July 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm - Reply

      Sorry you see the metaphor of a warrior as related to war. I, and many others, use the term as I tried to define it in my post, as a reference to all those who strive against long odds to reach a high and admirable goal. It has nothing at all to do with war or any kind of violence. It is a battle against complacency and mediocrity; that is how we need to shift what we teach our young people.

  3. Laura July 25, 2012 at 11:55 am - Reply

    Philip, The boys should read this blog, and I love the idea of your quote. Fabulous! Thanks, Grant!

    • glichtman July 25, 2012 at 2:09 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Laura, and if any boys read this I would love to see their own comments posted here!

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