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I enjoyed reading Bill Strickland’s Make the Impossible Possible. The amazing story of the alternative school he created from the ground up should be required reading in every school of education.
Strickland attracted his first students in an economically challenged neighborhood by working quietly at a pottery wheel in front of a cheapo storefront. Willing to hang out, answer questions, offer a chance to play with clay, he won over drop-outs and neighbors alike. What would become the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild was born “out of ideas and things I treasured, or needed, or believed in, and in doing so, I created …a foundation crafted from genuine values and passions that would serve as a base for a rich and meaningful life,” he says.
When it, later, became a donation-and-grant-funded non-compulsory school, Strickland insisted that the beauty of artworks, sunlight, quilts, flowers, cleanliness, and a water fountain were no more superfluous that the nurture, respect, creativity and freedom he built into the curriculum. “The beauty we’ve designed into our center isn’t window dressing; it’s an essential part of our success. It nourishes the spirit, and until you reach that part of the spirit that isn’t touched by cynicism or despair, no change can begin. You can’t show a person how to build a better life if they feel no pleasure in the simple act of being alive.”
What Strickland says about passion is a great lesson for we who are passionate about the highest possible things:
True passion “lifts your vision about the safe and the sensible and gives you the guts, or the foolhardiness to do something outrageous when only the outrageous will do. It draws your eye to opportunities you would otherwise miss. …when the mind accepts impossibility, the game is over.”
I hope many people take his example to heart, and that you enjoy reading his book, as I have. I think Strickland would like the Joy Foundation motto: Be small, Think big!