Oberlin Diaries 6: Steering the Future
My grandfather let me drive. I was 10, and he had to operate the pedals. I sat on his lap steering us down the two-lane country road. If I started to drift out of our lane, he would gently suggest a correction: “Maybe you want to turn us a bit to the right?” If an oncoming car were in sight, he’d momentarily make the correction himself, although never suggesting I relinquish my grip. I once hit a small stump in the gravel driveway as we pulled in, to which he replied, “Let’s not tell the others about that.” For the last five weeks, my fellow teachers and I have sought to give the Foresight Prep @ Oberlin College participants the reigns. It can be a humbling and at times harrowing experience. I don’t know how my grandfather remained so calm. Accelerating sustainability-focused progress requires letting the upcoming generation occupy the driver's seat. I strive to find supportive ways of issuing corrections when I just want to shout “Watch out for that oncoming car!” Sometimes it means allowing them to hit a few bumps, knowing that if I’m always holding the wheel, they’ll never learn to become a better driver than me.
P.S. Due to robust demand this year, Foresight needs to raise $20K by August to cover the requisite scholarship resources to support the economically and racially diverse student body that is the program’s foundation. It only takes a minute to make a one-time, or monthly, tax-deductible donation at: www.foresightprep.org/donate. Is it worth it? I’d invite you to read some of this year's weekly e-postcards posted on the program’s homepage. Many thanks to those who have already contributed and made a difference!