Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Inspire, not Require...

Dr. DeMille's 7 Keys of Great Teaching are a VITAL and irreplaceable part of our Commonwealth.

Without them, we will fail. That is: we will fail if our purpose is to raise future leaders and encourage young people who will stand for truth.  If our purpose is to create something different, and to avoid becoming another source of a "compulsory" education, we simply must do things differently than we have seen them done in our own education.

It is up to us to "be the change that we wish to see in the world."  (Gandhi)  And if we are unable to change paradigms and do things differently, we will be unable to raise up a generation of youth who will do things any differently from how they have been done in the past.  

We will first address the hot topic of inspiring vs. requiring our youth in their education.  This key is one of the most controversial and difficult to implement, simply because it is something we are not accustomed to in our generation. 

Please take a moment and think of the two words:  

What thoughts and images do they bring to your mind?
How does each word make you feel?

Here are some thoughts I have had regarding this subject:

What is 'Required' of us by God?  

I have not been able to come up with anything that we are required to do by our Heavenly Father.  In fact, a quick search brings up more entries saying the word Inspire when referring to our God.  There are prerequisites to entering His Kingdom, of course, but He doesn't require us to enter His kingdom.  That would be quite contrary to His nature, in my opinion.

Scripture search!  D&C 10:65-67 is a good illustration of how He operates.
Which brings us to 3 Nephi 27:27.  
We all must model our lives after Him.

In other words, God doesn't require.  He inspires.  And so should we.

Dr. DeMille states in his book, A Thomas Jefferson Education,
"If the purpose is to train leaders, it's important not to force the young person through their learning experiences.  Force in learning kills the spirit, dampens the passion and destroys the zest and life of learning.  Force trains followers, not leaders.....inspiring, in contrast to ignoring and forcing, means finding out what the students need and then creatively encouraging them to engage it on their own - with excitement and interest."

Plato quote let amusment be early education

One last quote by Joseph Smith:
Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to forsake sin as to take them by the hand, and watch over them with tenderness.  When persons manifest the least kindness and love to me, O what power it has over my mind, while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all the harsh feelings and depress the human mind.

If the human mind is depressed, it's not in a very teachable state...

So what does it mean to inspire?  Here is the textbook definition of this beautiful word.  Look at the word. When you break it down, it is In-Spirit...

in·spire  (ĭn-spīr′)
v. in·spiredin·spir·ingin·spires

1. To affect, guide, or arouse by divine influence.
2. To fill with enlivening or exalting emotion: hymns that inspire the congregation; an artist who was inspired by Impressionism.
a. To stimulate to action; motivate: a sales force that was inspired by the prospect of a bonus.
b. To affect or touch: The falling leaves inspired her with sadness.
4. To draw forth; elicit or arouse: a teacher who inspired admiration and respect.
5. To be the cause or source of; bring about

It is the opinion of the founder of CAMELOT Commonwealth in all of it's manifestations that to inspire youth is the very essence of the Mentor's duty.  We each must do the hard work of being worthy of the spirit, and listening to the spirit as it guides us on what each on of our youth is in need of.

This is not something that can be taught in a book.  It is not common in the world we live in.  and it is a challenge to take it on.  But what it boils down to is this question:  What kind of education are you hoping for in your youth?  Is it a conveyor belt, state standards education?  Or is it one in which they are challenged, and which helps them to build character?

My friend Kathy Mellor is one of the most inspiring people I have ever met.  This song is written by her about how she feels when she receives a new mentee into her life.  I hope you enjoy it, and feel the spirit she brings to her teaching.  It is truly inspiring to be in her classes.

May we each strive to be inspiring as we rub shoulders with the greatest generation God has ever sent to the earth.