A provocative manifesto!

I first heard of, and then peeked, at Seth Godin’s manifesto, “Stop Stealing Dreams,” via Twitter. I was reminded of it again by one of the regular readers/commenters on this blog – thanks, Jim P.! This manifesto is one of the more thought provoking works I have read in the past year. The manifesto/book is available free for download – the link is at the end of this post.

I want to highlight some of the ideas as an inducement to get you to read the entire manifesto – well worth an hour or two to read through this provocative and thoughtful writing. The manifesto consists of 132 short paragraphs in large print spread over 191 pages – so I will list the paragraph number and the page number as dual references to particular ideas or quotes.

  • 4/12 – What is school for? To his points I would add – what are the distinctive goals of Christian schools?
  • 8/21 – “Does the curriculum you teach now make our society stronger?” To which I would add – does it produce a passion in kids for the kingdom of Jesus Christ?
  • 11/24 – “Do we need more fear? Less passion?” ; 29/45, 46 – fear and passion as the two tools that educators have to work with
  • 14/27 – Seth’s question for school boards: “What are you doing to fuel my kid’s dreams?”
  • 17/29 – A dozen ways to reinvent school
  • 22/37, 94/128 – Scarcity and abundance
  • 39/61 – Assemblers or linchpins/artists?
  • 40/62, 63 – Why school needs to be more like FIRST robotics
  • 57-60/82-88 – The problem of small dreams and dreamers
  • 73/105 – Slader – Cliff Notes for math – see any problem worked out
  • 74/107 – The role of the teacher in a post union era
  • 90/124 – Average American’s annual amount of reading and high student expectations
  • 92/127 – Do kids achieve because of or in spite of schooling?
  • 95/130, 116/161, 124/175, 127/180, 129/183 – The coming melt-down of colleges
  • 106/146 – Why not teach these topics instead?
  • 113/156 – What is the value of advanced math?
  • 121/169 – Why homeschooling isn’t the answer for most
  • 123/174 – The new role of libraries

I hope you take the time to read this manifesto and reflect on what Godin is saying. He is making a significant contribution to the discussion how school needs to change and focus on different kinds of things with kids. Here is the link to access the material.


Filed under book, change, leadership, mission development, staff development, student outcomes

3 responses to “A provocative manifesto!

  1. Thank-you for this great post. This has been on my ‘To-Read’ list for quite some time. But, this may have just pushed me over the edge. Thanks for sharing your key points. I hope to do the same.

  2. weathertation

    Thanks for the shout out Dan. I was looking through my highlights to add a provocative quote when I ran across this, from chapter 50.

    “Competent people have a predictable, reliable process for solving a particular set of problems. They solve a problem the same way, every time. That’s what makes them reliable. That’s what makes them competent.

    Competent people are quite proud of the status and success that they get out of being competent. They like being competent. They guard their competence, and they work hard to maintain it.”

    This is not my favorite quote in the book but goes to another post. If I had to pick a favorite I might pick the whole 132nd chapter. If these words do not ring the bell of Christian educators everywhere, then nothing will.

    “When we teach a child to make good decisions, we benefit from a lifetime of good decisions.

    When we teach a child to love to learn, the amount of learning will become limitless.

    When we teach a child to deal with a changing world, she will never become obsolete.

    When we are brave enough to teach a child to question authority, even ours, we insulate ourselves from those who would use their authority to work against each of us.

    And when we give students the desire to make things, even choices, we create a world filled with makers.”

    What struck me the whole time I was reading the book was how familier the words were to me. I think that is because Godin thinks is of imminent importance that every child reach their fullest potential for their community. And that is why Christian schools should exist, because we know we can and have the right to do that. In fact we are selling ourselves short if we do anything else.

    • I agree – we have the “master story” as our motivation – it is simply not about my personal “getting ahead” (economic gain) or citizenship. It is truly about flourishing. Godin really gets the flourishing part, but we have the opportunity to help answer the “why” and “what is my purpose in life” questions in Christian education. I am serious about Christian schools focusing discussions around flourishing with parents and students – it is the kind of discussion I was always seeking as a parent. I don’t particularly care about grade points – it is about kids growing in loving learning, loving God and demonstrating a passion to live out their faith and serve wherever called.

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