Passionate risky conversations

Youthworkers, educators, community workers, Clergy. Read this book.

Over the weekend I’ve been reading it, its the transcript of a conversation between two passionate educationalists, two people who changed the lives of 100’s of people through educating in a way that enabled people to begin exploring knowledge from their own understanding. Reading it has felt like being in the room with two passionate people, passionate about people, passionate about loving people and helping people make sense of the world, and helping people to understand the systems of the world that cause them to be inhumanely treated. Its been a joy and immersive experience to feel alive, feeling like i’m the fly on the wall imagining Paulo Freire and Myles Horton converse together. The atmosphere in the room must have been magic, hearing the reflections of two soldiers who enabled societal change through education. These were to me, some of the highlights:

from Paulo Freire:

“One of the important tasks we have as teachers should be not to have the experience on behalf of the students. we cannot do that. they have to have their experience”

“I am sure that one of the most tragic illnesses of our societies is the bureaucratization of the mind”

“Without understanding the soul of the culture, we just invade the culture”

“Conflicts are the midwives of consciousness”

and from Myles Horton….

“I said its not important to be good, its important to be good for something”

“So whilst I insist on starting where people are, that’s the only place they could start”

“I think the poor and the people who cant read and write have a sense that without structural changes nothing is worth really getting excited about”

“I think if i had to put a finger on what I consider a good education, a good radical education, it wouldnt be anything about methods and techniques. It would be loving people first”

None of this is difficult to be inspired by. Spoken by two people who fought against the systems with people, to understand and educate in a way that was just, and respected people as people.

Reading and being enlightened by this conversation has been somewhat of a personal therapy during a difficult week, but also a sense of renewed insight, drive and purpose in the purpose of faith, beauty  and life in the conversations with people around. I have been more involved in at least three other conversation this week, not just the fly on the wall of a recorded conversation in 1987, which have been as passionate, as  creative and as desiring for change.

A lengthy conversation with a young person on the streets on monday, a young person frustrated with school.

Then two purposeful ideas networking meetings on Wednesday, with people in positions of power desiring community change and change with young people in the North East.  Torn between the wrestling, and the creativity, the powers of restrictions and the desire to act and be different.

Conversations this week have been the mechanism for the spark, and place of ideas, of creativity, of renewed purpose, of therapy. This week passionate conversations have inspired, have refreshed and have created the space for new opportunities.

“We are afraid of risking. And its impossible, just impossible, to create without risking. Its absolutely impossible, but it takes time to begin to risk. We must be free; we must be free to believe in freedom. yet its a paradox, as without freedom its difficult to understand freedom” (Freire)

We make the road by walking.



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