Wisdom From the Farm: Wilcox AZ

February 5, 2023

Kathy and Toby Collins met in high school when both of their families started farming about six miles south of Wilcox, Arizona.  They have been married, according to both of them, for “64 blessed years”.  There are not many family farms left in the valley.  A dairy came in and bought up a lot of…

Brief Interlude: Kindness

February 3, 2023

On the outskirts of El Paso, an engine warning came on; no big deal; oil level a bit high and maybe I needed to drain a half quart. Found a diesel shop; nice supervisor; said checking the problem would just take a few minutes. “The burrito lady just pulled in and all the guys are…

Differences Bridged By Listening and Respect

February 2, 2023

Tubac, Arizona is just 25 miles from the Mexican border.  For centuries it has been at the heart of the borderlands, rich in multicultural traditions and influences.  Over time the border itself has been fluid, ephemeral, and often arbitrary.  Currently, this area of the border is one of the most active in terms of commerce,…

The Southern Border Is Not the “Hellscape” We Hear About

January 31, 2023

My first interviews of Wisdom Road Leg 2 were in the small town of Tubac, Arizona, about 30 miles north of the border with Mexico.  Tubac is like a mini-Santa Fe; a couple of restaurants but about thirty art galleries and flocks of snowbirds at this time of the year.  The Santa Cruz River, really…

Civility: The Overlooked But Most Important 21st Century Skill?

January 17, 2023

For more than two decades, forward-leaning educators have focused on a set of skills that for some reason all started with the letter “C”: creativity, critical thinking, communication,  collaboration, etc.  I want to add another “C” to that list, one, I would argue, that will be more important to the world going forward than all…

Gratitude Is the Fuel of Wisdom Road

January 11, 2023

A colleague (Gardner Barrier, head of school at Forsyth Country Day School in Winston-Salem) asked me this week if I felt gratitude was a motivator for my Wisdom Road journey.  In that moment and from that question I realized that gratitude is probably the principle driver on this complex, challenging, and frequently uncomfortable project.  I…

Global Impact of School Transformation Pioneers

December 1, 2022

How the mighty ripples of school transformation have spread! I just spent two weeks working with Unity Grammar, a K-12 co-ed Islamic faith-based school in Sydney, Australia.  Yes, the clothing is different, and prayer time more frequent, but the hospitality, generosity, and fervor with which these edu-leaders want to change the traditional model of education…

Failure Of An Icon?: The Nuclear Family

November 5, 2022

Is the nuclear family, an icon of the 20th century American dream, a failed human experiment? Hidden within the seven weeks I spent on Leg 1 of Wisdom Road this fall was a feature of rural America that is becoming as extinct as the buffalo that once roamed the plains: large, extended families.  As I…

McGillis School: Living Their Mission of Values-Based Education

October 25, 2022

A visit to the McGillis School in Salt Lake City has made a fine end to Leg 1 of Wisdom Road.  McGillis is a K-8 school with several very interesting and almost unique elements that I think make it a sure bet to continue to thrive in this growing market. The first is that McGillis…

Wisdom Road Day #47: Joe White Mountain, Lakota Elder

October 22, 2022

Teaser:  Joe reports first hand from an elder who was at Custer’s Last Stand: the history books are wrong about how Custer died! If two families have a dispute of any kind, the older people would put on a feed  and they would call these two families together.  Then at the end of the feed,…

Wisdom Road Day 46: Sunday Morning On the Standing Rock

October 19, 2022

Somewhere on this Sunday morning, church bells ring to call the faithful to kneel before a stained glass reprieve.   There ain’t nothin’ short of dyin’Half as lonesome as the soundOn the sleepin’ city sidewalksSunday mornin’ comin’ down Kris Kristofferson My God, the hues and textures of autumn grassy plains tipped by low morning sunlight,…

Wisdom Road Day # 44: A Highlight of Both Trip and Life

October 16, 2022

The real core of our lives is simplicity. There is almost zero chance that anyone who reads this blog got to experience what I did. I don’t know many other things in life I can say that about. If a batch of still-warm chocolate chip cookies became sentient and knew how they were welcomed by…

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