Our Children Spread Their Dreams Under Our Feet. We Should Tread Softly.

This less-than-17-minute talk was posted on the TED ideas worth spreading site just a week or so ago. I think every one of us should take 17 minutes off and listen to this, and think about it. It’s funny. It’s interesting. And it’s important.

Sir Ken Robinson starts with a reference to global climate change, a big problem, hard to embrace because there’s so little any individual can do. He jumps to a global education crisis, which strikes me as just as big, and just as hard to embrace. That’s sad. I hope I’m wrong. He implies, at least, that we might be able to change this for the better. I hope he’s right.

Some interesting quotes:

  • A three-year old is not half a six-year old.
  • We have built our education system on the model of fast food.
  • If you’re doing something you love, an hour feels like five minutes. If you’re doing something that doesn’t resonate with your spirit, five minutes feels like an hour.
  • The reason so many people are opting out of education is because it doesn’t feed their spirit. It doesn’t feed their energy or their passion.
  • We have to change metaphors. We have to go from an industrial model of education, a manufacturing model, which is based on linearity and conformity and batching people, to a model based more on principals of agriculture. Human flourishing is not a mechanical process, it’s an organic process.

I love his ending. He finishes quoting a William B. Yeats poem, which ends: “Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.”

And he (the speaker, not the poet) concludes:

And every day, everywhere, our children spread their dreams under our feet. And we should tread softly.


  • carolina says:

    Hi Tim, also Montessori schools have a different point of view of the subject! Nice info thks for sharing.

  • Tim Berry says:

    Thanks Erika, that’s a good reminder. Yes, actually, I’ve had kids and grandkids in (and out of) Waldorf schools; it seems like there are a lot of different interpretations of what Waldorf really means, but I agree, at least it’s not quite as prefabricated as mainstream. Thanks for adding this. Tim

  • Erika Leaf says:

    Tim, Have you heard of Waldorf Schools? They are the opposite of fast food education. From preschool onwards, the children are given projects that require sustained effort and where the outcome is beautiful and a source of pride.Doing these kinds of projects really develops the will forces and the ability to persevere in the face of obstacles. Overall Waldorf steeps the students in creativity and depth instead of high volume, superficial studies of our modern public schools. My two older kids went through Eugene Waldorf School K through 8th grade and it has served them very well and developed them into thinking, competent, participating young people with a true interest in learning and in others. You might direct your kids to check it out for your grandchildren if they are inclined to. Thanks for the link to this talk. Erika (Leaf)

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