Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A friend, Elliot Washor, co-founder of the Met School in Providence Rhode Island reminded me of the following quote from Stalin: "A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic." Statistics are the territory of the "values damaged." It is easy to throw numbers around if you are detached and disengaged. Where your hands and heart have no connection, the mind can gather facts unaffected and unscathed.

We hear the numbers each day in the news concerning death. 33 at Virginia Tech, 161 in a car bombing in Iraq. These are numbers that can be quickly entered in a ledger if anyone cares enough, but when and where the hands are engaged, things become far more personal. For instance all the students at Virginia Tech, all the bystanders in Iraq, the tragic gunman and suicidal car bomber were held as children in the hands of mothers and fathers who felt love for them... and each left a legacy of lasting deeply felt connections that isn't severed when the statistics are delivered in the nightly news. Behind the news are the hundreds of stories that won't be told or that can't be told but have deep personal effect on those closer than arm's length.

Can you see what I'm talking about? Where the hands are restrained from their normal engagement with reality and when learning is put at greater than arm's length things are cold, things become cruel, and important human values are shredded on the alter of statistics.

The motto of the Met Schools and the parent organization The Big Picture Company is to educate: "One student at a time," recognizing that each is special with gifts that are unique. In essence, it is all about the hands.

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