Thoughts, links & ideas from the 2008 National Teacher of the Year

Each time I've taken off in a plane since May (which is a lot), I've been writing in my journal, then adding these journal entries on this blog.

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(Note: the blue posted dates are actually the dates I wrote the journal entries, not when I posted them online.)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thinking About the Box

Redmond, OR


The cardboard box.  Within the cardboard box lies the future of all humanity.  Children recognize this potential, and act!


It is a shelter, a space ship, a table, an outhouse (my kids have very active imaginations.)  The possibilities are endless, and children enter a different world when they enter the box.  It is their world.


We’ve all seen children ignore the contents of a box, choosing instead to sail the vessel in which those contents were packaged.  Perhaps it is this limitless appeal that encouraged the National Museum of Play to add the cardboard box to its Hall of Fame in 2005.  (Just a month ago, they added the lowly stick.  I was in agreement, remembering the time that my own children entertained themselves on a 7-hour road trip with a stick and a drinking straw.  No, they’re not weird.  They’re just more creative than we are.  They’re free.  They’re children.)


It is this imaginative spirit, this creativity, this freedom, which hold the future of humanity.  They hold our cultural and economic futures.  These are the qualities that make us uniquely human, and are essential in the increasingly technological and global world in which we live.


We need to teach our children, yes, but we ought to be learning from them, as well.  Learning how to recognize the potential, and act!  Learning to not only think inside the box, or outside the box, but to ask "what can I create with this box?" or “where can this box take me?"


Our response to the potential of the box may very well determine whether our nation is destined to live in a cardboard box, or whether we will sail it to the stars.

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