“Lean In, Back Off, But Don’t Do Nothing”

Does our educational system allow us to push our students in a way that allows them to discover the power of their individual skills and abilities? Watch this short inspirational video and think about whether our outdated traditional classroom fosters an environment where students can soar.
This would be very encouraging if schools could simply operate as the “pusher” out of love, allowing students to discover the power and ability of their God given gifts. Unfortunately our industrial framed school system has a preconceived agenda with a narrowed definition of achievement and success.
I think one concept shared by Seth Godin in his book Tribes:We Need You to Lead Us, can really be applied to teaching in an alternative manner and also applicable to a journey of living by faith. Godin suggests that great modern leaders “Lean in, back off, but don’t do nothing.”
As for teachers:
·      To “lean in” means to care deeply for each individual student. Create an

atmosphere where each child is personally heard, encouraged and supported according to their specific needs. Simply take interest in every pupil.

·      To “back off” is a lot like what the parent eagle in the video does after the push. Continue to challenge while letting them explore. This allows the student to make their decisions and maintain authority of their learning development and growth. Let go of your own agenda. Get out of the way!
·      I interpret the “But don’t do nothing” as the teacher is constantly opening avenues for student learning and exploration. Also the educator is constantly offering guidance and encouragement throughout the process.
I think this approach can have application in living by faith and parenting as well. Actually there are probably numerous areas of application for this, but in my experience of teaching, trying to live according to God’s will for my life, and definitely parenting, the “back off” step is BY FAR the most difficult!
Too often I want to do it for my students or especially my 3 year old son, which would ultimately inhibit their ability to soar.
Ryan Hershey see my blog at

If Only…

A clip from Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the Learning Revolution!

To piggyback on his agricultural metaphor for education…Can you picture what a diverse, wondrous garden this type of framework would produce? What a dynamic, beautiful, and intriguing future to experience. If only each individual could flourish through the discovery and embrace of their own unique and distinctive God-given gifts. Unfortunately, those that find success in their talents, usually identify their passions and gifts somewhere other than school because the boxed curriculum, prevalent in today’s classroom, buries most characteristics that offer individuality.
Like I stated in my previous post, if our education system only fosters one type of intelligence, we are severely limiting the possible future for our kids and their capabilities. It is already evident that our world is transitioning into a time of innovation and creativity, while the industrial days are long gone. If only our schools reflected this.

Ken Robinson (guy in the video) has a great mind for rethinking the way we educate. In his book, The Element, Robinson suggests three principles for an education that allows students to flourish while experiencing their gifts: eliminate hierarchy of subjects (value every type of intelligence equally), create transdisciplinary curriculum (don’t separate subjects), and individualize education. This is a hard concept to visualize since the schooling I’ve experienced didn’t involve any of these characteristics. I’m working on what this realistically looks like because our kids deserve it, plus the possibilities are exciting!
Ryan Hershey see my blog at

The ideal school?

The most efficient path to achieve discovery is through inquiry. Here I go…
Is there a school or learning community that is set up to meet the demands of Jesus’ calling? In Matthew 5:13-16, we are called to be salt and light. Can we provide a school that allows our children to explore their relationship with God in the continuous discovery of whom He has made them to be and also experience authentic opportunities to be a light bearer? Can we bring kids up in the way God has planned and at the same time allow God to orchestrate his purpose in each individual.
Currently, we have the public school system in great need of salt and light. In separate confines we have some private Christian schools where the “salt” is being taught to bring out the best in the world around them and the spark and kindle are provided to fuel the “light”. BUT, are these lights displaying their greatest capacity in the darkness?
I envision a learning community who encourages each individual in their own journey, while students embrace their God-given uniqueness through authentic interactions with the world around them.
Here we will have the Curiosity to Inquire, Determination to Discover, and an Eagerness to Apply!

It’s been said, “What gets measured, gets done.” Our public schools are putting limits on what we can do through their standardized assessments. Our form of measurement must allow for the whole child to shine, not just in how they can communicate one limited type of intelligence with pencil and paper. Might our students’ development and growth be limitless!
Ryan Hershey see my blog at