Bob Dylan sang this warning during a tumultuous time of reflection and protest, a time when our nation was reexamining its assumptions, redefining its aspirations - working to be reborn. The constructs and myths of past generations were losing their relevance in a rapidly changing world and the seeds of a new social order were being sown.
This is the way of our world, an unceasing cycle of dying and rebirth, manifest in nature as the sun rises then sets, as tides ebb and flow, as mountain ranges erupt and are laid low. The sprouts of each Spring depend on the detritus of last year’s growth and the snowy sleep of the winter to revive, in a constant striving for renewal.
This embroidered rhythm is the way of nature but also of our human structures. When institutions lose touch with their reason to be, become entrenched in a singular way of being or doing, forget their interdependence, become blind to information in their environment, or fail to build and rebuild sustaining structures, they become a hindrance and must be set aside so new life-affirming systems can emerge.
We believe this is where we have arrived with our systems of teaching and learning. Our current system, designed to fulfill the needs of economic ambitions, is an outmoded, cumbersome structure that favors “useful” portions of our varied human capacities, homogenizes learners, and tamps down natural passions.
In its place, a new education ecosystem needs to be conceived - one that reacquaints us with our beautifully diverse selves and asks what we hope to achieve when we teach our children. We embarked on this journey to explore what it would take to create such an ecosystem, and to be transformed by the striving. We sought to understand children as learners, teachers as guides, and to explore the intimate and delightful learning and teaching transaction they share.
Together, we became seekers of a new, vibrant model capable of planting the seeds and sustaining the shoots of a new spring for education and loving our children by schooling them well. Venturing beyond our typical professional boundaries as scholars, designers, architects, educators and writers, we have become ambassadors for a shared belief that the world needs to change now, and that the best way to do it is to raise generations of enlightened people in tune with our world of living systems.
The time to share what we have learned has arrived. With the publication of Seed & Spark, we have reached a milestone and erected a cairn on this first peak of our exploration into the nature of living systems and the lessons they impart.
We hope it is meaningful to you, each in your own way, and in your own place. While this book lives in the world of teaching and learning, the lessons gleaned from our quest are applicable to the art and the science of learning, of working, of living and of loving. After all, it is these threads that weave within and among, binding us into a single global community.
Travelers in the cosmic sea, it is surely true wherever we are going, we are going together. So we say - Life persists. We are the living system. Let’s get busy being born.