Yesterday we wrapped up the first Educators and Clergy Conference titled, “Educators and Clergy, Working Together for Great Public Schools.” The final presenter was Dr. Tom Boyd. Passionate. Articulate. Inspiring. Challenging. I am certain others could add their own superlatives in response to Dr. Boyd.
Floyd Cox came up with his own working title for the event, “Teachers and Preachers Sitting Down for a Conversation.” The central feature of the two-day event was conversation. Round table discussions gave teams the opportunity to explore the implications of material a variety of presenters brought for consideration. Great conversations characterized the event.
Dr. Boyd noted we live in a day where the “idealogical fix” rules the day. The expression is much like the design of the Apple iPod. Designing a personal music player to avoid music pircay led Apple to develop a player designed for “one way” communication. Once music is put on the iPod it does not come off without losing it. Sure there are workarounds, but the hassle is great. The “idealogical fix” is the kind of experience where conversation is one way. No one is willing to talk if you do not already agree.
Many at the event wondered if presenters were not singing to the choir. Dr. Boyd noted the choir is the best place to begin. He humored us with the reminder some choirs are not very harmonious. So, with the choir we began. We began with those who agree on the need for conversation. Certainly there will be nuances that could create tension and even conflict. That is not all bad so long as we maintain the goal of conversation and avoid the idealogical fix. Admittedly this is hard for preacher types – we always think we are right about everything.
I am glad Bruce invited me to be on the planning team. I am grateful for the hospitality extended by Dr. Dottie Hager and the OEA team she assembled. May the conversations continue. May we work for great public schools.