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Leadership and Activism, Learning at its Best, Philosophical Meanderings

spaces of permission

Kids have connections down. Many of us just don’t see it as legit. Many of them don’t see it as legit. Connections are legit. How kids connect and collaborate is huge to social change.

Adults still hold the keys to dreaming. Whether it’s a pause, a look, a refocus,.. we communicate an assumed agenda.

Perhaps, what we need to do is give kids more space, legit space, to do their thing. Their thing is pretty amazing, if it’s their thing. We can’t give them space, tell them we want them to do their thing, and then tell them how that should look. We won’t be blown away by their brilliance if we continue to manage it.

If we would all give ourselves permission to notice more, we wouldn’t be able to not do more. We’re doing less because we’re hung up on what’s an allowable dream.

We need to focus on finding/creating/supporting free spaces for our YOUth. This could be a joint venture, like no other. This is a huge multi-player game. Too important to not take all of us.

*YOUth – you to whatever degree you decide.

on thinking: city as floorplan

Kids are connecting.

Maybe if we gave them more legit spaces to connect.. started believing, and helping them believe, that what they do matters… and can make a difference…. well .. maybe that would be enough.

Maybe creating/finding more spaces of permission for them to be is our first focus. It seems it would provide a glue of sorts, a foundation.. as they connect more.. and as they did things that mattered more. Something that would feed an exponentially growing drive.

Had already written this post, and now in just finishing Mark Pesce’s great read The Playful World, seems fitting to add his words here:

Their language and customs may be strange to us – but not because they are bad or immoral; they simply reflect a deeper understanding of the world we have created for them.

For we have given birth to our teachers.

Our children will know how to make sense of the playful world, and important lesson they will be happy to share with us, if we are willing. 

We could allow tech to send us to the sidelines; if we let that happen, our generation will bear the responsibility for all of the horrors of a world massively transformed by pervasive reactive intelligence, widespread nanotechnology, and ubiquitous presence, because we chose to be rigid when we needed to be open-minded. If we decide instead to listen to the young and learn their lessons, we may find that our children, who have grown up surrounded by the magical toys we have given them, are making for themselves a world of play.  


And his visions here – of redefining space.


About monika hardy

experimenting with the intersection of city and school.


6 thoughts on “spaces of permission

  1. Monika,
    I agree and if teachers had these spaces as well they’d be more likely to provide them for their students. They’d see the power of what they could create/think/dream and would see and live the benefits to themselves and others. Now, what would it take to convince teachers to step out of their comfort zone?

    Posted by Elisa Waingort | June 7, 2011, 7:18 am
  2. i don’t know Elisa…
    perhaps immersing themselves in people/thinking like this:

    what do you think?

    Posted by monika hardy | June 7, 2011, 7:40 am
  3. Monika, I am such a huge fan of City As Floorplan, and as you know I think it relates to some work that is happening in Caguas, Puerto Rico where the mayor and other city leaders are conceiving of a project to make the city the school (as it were) right now. Great minds think alike. Maybe you’ll come to IDEC 2012 to talk about your ideas?

    In the meantime, I have a question. What do you mean when you say, “Adults still hold the keys to dreaming?” I am not sure I follow you here.



    Posted by Kirsten | June 7, 2011, 8:29 am
    • Kirsten – i met Isaac Graves face to face last week. that was lovely. such a great connection. he told me about Yaacov Hecht and his education cities. in fact he sent me his book – so i’m reading it now.
      would love to go to idec, Isaac also mentioned portland in august..

      on adults still holding the keys to dreaming.. kids are so ready to jump ship. they are eating up the idea of directing their own learning. but adults, esp their parents, still have a hold on the space they need to dream and act. i don’t think it’s an intentional hold up. i think parents truly want what’s best for kids – they just don’t know the options they have. they are afraid – these are their kids. Anya Kamenetz says, too many kids are making career based decisions on too little information. i think if more adults knew more about learning today.. they would free up space for kids, esp space in a kid’s mind. that freedom that comes from support, support that says, what you’re doing is legit.

      Posted by monika hardy | June 7, 2011, 10:25 am
      • now half way through Yaacov’s book. p. 173 he talks about Elad who came to the Democratic School of Hadera as a 10th grader with supposed learning disabilities. the transition was difficult and the mother told Yaacov after a couple months, that Elad had stopped talking to them at home. Yaacov discovered that the mother tried to get him to talk by asking him about school. Yaacov suggested she talk about anything but school. more time passed and the mother and Elad were talking with Yaacov. she told Yaacov that for 2 months they hadn’t said a word about school and nothing had changed. Yaacov shares,
        “Before I could reply, Elad stood between his mother and myself and shouted in a voice I’d never heard from him, “You don’t talk! But your eyes talk! After a few moments of silence, both Elad and his mother burst into tears. The mother hugged her son, saying that she understood and that he was right. She had so many fears regarding school, and it was hard for her to accept her son as he was.”

        this is more of what i meant by holding the keys to dreaming..
        i hear this too often. same story, different people, different backdrop.

        also in the book – Yaacov talks about schools greatest success being that it’s taught us to categorize people according to their degree of success within the world of the square (the space we deem as basics/curriculum/standards – in order to succeed in college/etc)

        Posted by monika hardy | June 8, 2011, 12:29 pm
  4. Monika, This is beautiful and I’m so glad you met Isaac. Please DO come to IDEC!


    Posted by Kirsten | June 8, 2011, 9:07 pm

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