This phrase is one that I heard a lot at Harvard. Many people, including one of my favorite professors Jim Honan, used it often. In a conversation with my mom the other day, I was thinking aloud about "The Work," and came to a valuable conclusion.
At this moment, The SEED has received tons of support by those who have see the incredibly valuable assets we have - people, time, muscle, creativity, culture, experience, passion, outrage, excitement, intellect, devotion, community, curriculum, etc...That being said, we're still working to find the funding for a home base and to fund the team. In the meantime, I'm meeting with as many people as I can fit into my schedule.
Each time I leave a meeting, I'm always incredibly excited and motivated. For one thing, I'm able to see the program through a new set of eyes and experiences, which is invaluable. For another, I am able to answer questions that are totally new for me related to the project, my philosophy, the community, and my goals. Each meeting, therefore, is much like the lessons we teach at The SEED. We present to learners (and ourselves) content that causes us to question our assumptions and prior understandings. Through this process of questioning, we may 1) completely change our initial assumption, 2) completely maintain our initial understanding, or 3) create some new understanding which takes into account the question, doubt, curiosity, suggestion, criticism or advice of the person sitting across the table. At the end of each meeting, therefore, I, we, The SEED is transformed, even if ever so slightly.
Back to the conversation with my mom. I was explaining to her the value of these one-on-one conversations, and I said something I didn't know was true until I heard it.
"Even if someone had given me a million dollars the moment I returned to Austin, I would be doing exactly what I'm currently doing."
I am so lucky to be able to interact with, learn from, challenge, and co-create knowledge with the people of Austin, Texas, Dove Springs, and those more distant through electronic correspondence.
The SEED Adult and Family Learning Community can have no other origin story than the one that is being written currently, moment by moment - by learners, teachers, community organizers, neighbors, parents, schools, children, organizations; by each and every one of us.
Outside of the world of funding, grants, program measures, enrollment procedures, and so on, "The Work" of The SEED Adult and Family Learning Community is well underway, and is already beginning to build the momentum that will maintain it for a long, long time.
As far as I'm concerned, it's the only work worth doing.