What’s Your Highest Aspiration For Our Kids?
Joy. Energy. Hope. Direction. Purpose. These are the words that describe human thriving. Peter Benson spent his career trying to understand human thriving with a particular lens on children. He called it a spark.
What is a human spark?
A human spark is a feeling of joy, energy, and purpose that animates your life.
Skill/Talent - “I love to make music.” “I love to draw.” “I love to study archaeology.”
Commitment - Social justice, stewardship of the earth
Quality - “I’m a person of empathy.” “I’m the person people go to for help.”
The Problem - Nobody asks me:
Only ½ of parents can name their child’s spark
Only ⅓ of adults in school can name their student’s spark
Only ¼ of community members can name a child’s spark
“I’m my best self.”
Surveyed students overwhelmingly chose the Creative Life (art, music, drama, dance, and movement) as when they felt that they are “their best self.”
What can you do?
Next time you are with a young person and learn about her spark you can:
Say it back to her
Tell her you see it and hear it
Thank her for possessing it
Because in almost all cases it is good and useful to the world.
What else can you do?
Work with your school leader in creating a student survey to learn about their sparks which will help guide your school’s enrichment offerings.
Connect with teachers in your community that want to do more of this work but don’t have the time and resources to make it happen. You can be the change agent!
Advocate and celebrate stories of qualitative learning happening in your school community - the more we champion this work, the more our school boards and school leaders will prioritize these meaningful learning opportunities for our young people.