Putting the Meaning Back

In our performance- and results-oriented culture, how do we put the meaning back into our daily lives? How do we attempt to create an environment for our children that values hard work, loyalty to people, and pride in the integrity of earnestly working toward a larger goal (versus achievement of the goal at all costs)?

This is one of my greatest challenges as an educator and an area in which my youthful idealism always shows through. Perhaps it’s true that I’ve refused to be beaten down by what the mainstream corporate culture and media tell us is the truth. I simply don’t believe that we have to be slaves to our jobs, our incomes, or the shackles that we’ve imposed upon ourselves. I believe we are all products of our choices.

What I’m looking for as I build my unique team of young people is a willingness to develop resilience through the tough and sometimes painful process of making choices. Every time we make a choice, we gain freedom to be something more than what we are today. We cannot gain freedom without choosing to do so.

I have no control over the particular choices people will make, but I provide direct guidance on the choices that must be made in order to be part of our community. These choices, made individually, define collectively the spirit of our team and the purpose of our coming together. Without these daily individual choices, there would be no group, and none of the amazing opportunities that are afforded by being a group – none of the recognition, none of the joy of sharing our music with others, none of the thrill of live performance. By making the hard choices and the sacrifices necessary, we gain something that cannot be measured. It is that “immeasurable something” that the youthful, idealistic part of me still believes in pursuing, and giving as my personal gift to the next generation.

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