While the lingering anxiety over going back to school was a standard staple for this month, I also remember a sense of excitement in anticipation of something anew. It was time to turn the chapter to a new grade, a new backpack, new clothing,... and most importantly, a new blank page where I could begin fresh. I had an opportunity to rewrite who I aspired to be and not feel limited to who I had been.
So, as I help my kids get ready for school this year, I began to wonder...what if every member of a community had an opportunity to tap into this youthful sense at least once a year? What if every resident could turn to a fresh chapter in their life? What if everyone could feel unencumbered by past limitations, habits, and knowledge? And instead, be empowered to draw a self-portrait of how they aspire to see themselves.
We, humans, are one of the most incredible and adaptable species on this planet. We are not limited by the physical structure of our lives. The malleability of our minds opens us up to endless potential.
So imagine if each August, each one of us committed to learning something new. Learn how to cook a new dish, learn how to run a longer distance, learn a new trade, learn how to play an instrument. What could a community look like if each member of the community learned one new skill each year? Just imagine what the individual could accomplish…
I imagine that these benevolent souls would highlight the following four principles in defining the core idea of ‘love and support’:
- For themselves: There are an endless number of biological reasons that prove that keeping a mind engaged in learning is one of the best ways to avoid mental health issues later in life.
- For their family: A family member who commits to self-learning is making a huge contribution to their family. They ensure that each year, their family gets to experience a new and improved version of themselves. They can be a better artist, a more skilled individual, a person capable of contributing to the financial and psychological security of their family,...
- For their community: When citizens of a community commit to bettering themselves, they also help elevate the collective state of their community. They can tackle challenges that they may have previously thought impossible. Becoming a more proficient community gardener, exploring their entrepreneurial skills and providing critically needed services locally, creating works of inspiring art...