Letter: Local leaders must listen to the people calling for change

Graphic by Lori Deaton

You and our children may be the most significant generation of human beings who ever lived. Let’s look at education as a process of living: a beginning of lifelong learning. There is no better education than experiences that are self-driven.

I have a sense that local schools are really up against the reality of today’s world. I know of local parents, home-schoolers and school employees who are really stressed. And my activities with local peace and justice workers, along with environmentalists, have motivated me to speak out. The latest being the Only One Earth Coalition, whose members have been very active as we move into the new year.

I call on parents to reclaim your children’s education not only through home-schooling but being active in the school that your child attends. I call on educators to push for a radical transformation of our school system. Nothing short of that will suffice in the new age ahead. Education is not merely schooling, which is increasingly standardized and test-driven — too often crushing the zest for knowledge and inner growth.

It’s easier to develop strong, healthy, creative children than to educate “grown-ups” who are busy surviving rather than thriving. I’d like to see grade-appropriate peace and justice included in our public school curriculum, along with more internal freedom to develop their inner strengths.

The primary grades do a better job teaching such things as kindness, respect, honesty and caring, but that isn’t enough. Be aware that neuroscientists and spiritual teachers suggest that we all have the potential to continue developing and transforming our minds from birth right up to death.

In other words, we are always becoming, expanding our consciousness and intellect to live a full, meaningful life — or we are simply in a rut, spinning our wheels just trying to survive, allowing television, political hacks and the distractions of so-called entertainment guide our lives.

Let’s make our schools the hub of social services, introducing social action that includes democratic participation in peace and justice that are relevant to our families, our workplace and our churches. There are many wonderful, positive ideas floating around but they are ignored by the dominant culture’s values. It is a bitter pill to swallow that it’s going to get worse despite the healthy, creative and inspired people who are calling for a spiritual transformation.

We need to stand from a position of our own inner growth. Democracy requires an informed citizenship, not prepackaged messages designed to manipulate and control. I suggest reading biographies of our Founding Fathers to grow in more freedom, independence and understanding of our Constitution.

The good news is that there are many local, national and international groups that are open, alive and thriving, resisting inequality, consumerism, racism, militarism and passivity by using their hearts and minds. They ground their ethics for social change, placing people at the center — not politics, ideology or wealth. There are local communities, programs and organizations. I call on our local leaders to recognize that they have a big challenge before them. They must listen, study, reflect and openly act to transform our society by honoring those who are calling for change. Not perfection but accepting greater power to we the people.

I honor the conservative values of individual rights that puts people first. Our own efforts, when combined with the efforts of others, can multiply our impact. We best make this a lifelong learning project for ourselves and future generations. As President Teddy Roosevelt suggested, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

My hope is that younger adults develop the knowledge and courage to change “our way of life.” Never stop learning, and in your more mature years, you will strengthen your inner ability to respond to the slings and arrows of life. Take time to think, not just react. Take care of your body, mind and spiritual life as you do the necessary searching and exploring, finding your way through the low and high points of your life.

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” — Thomas Jefferson

For further information or challenges, email esacco189@gmail.com.

— Ed Sacco


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to letters@mountainx.com

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

One thought on “Letter: Local leaders must listen to the people calling for change

  1. indy499

    If this work product reflects the kind of education Ed is talking about, I’m a strong no.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.