Dear KWS Community,
A new year is upon us. 2024 will be a year of new opportunities, new challenges, new trials and tribulations, and new lessons for newfound wisdom that will carry us forward together, into the future.
And… there’s no getting around the feeling that as we look out on the world, the brighter future we all imagine can seem out of reach, and may even appear at times to be moving in the wrong direction. Try as we might to understand all that is happening, there are limits to what we can know and do, mediated as we are by filtered tunnels of interpretation, and by our inevitably limited worldviews and personal experiences. It is easy to get caught up and overwhelmed, or to shut down and try to avoid or ignore it all, but in the midst of the cacophony, and beyond the confusion of polarization and discord, there is a field of peace and understanding, always present, waiting for us to find each other there.
So how do we get there? How do we find it, and lead our children to this open secret, beyond the conflict and confusion? I believe that at KWS the answers we seek are right in front of us, and we are already on the right path; we just have to trust in it, and each other, and keep moving forward. I have travelled much of this country and much of this world, and while I can testify to the beauty that abounds and to the benefits of exploration, I have yet to find any truly greener grass. This land, this school, and this community, right here in this little corner of Gaia’s blue-green marvel, has everything it needs to reveal that brighter future to itself.
As we begin another year of hope and striving, of accomplishments and setbacks, and of unpredictable change, may we continue to find compassion in response to conflict, simplicity on the other side of complexity, and community in the midst of our personal journey. May we always return to the values and principles that hold us together and keep us sustained—our respect for each other as sacred individuals; our connection to a common humanity that transcends and includes our dynamic diversity; and our shared aspirations for our children to be kinder, wiser, and more deeply connected to their power and purpose than any of their ancestors could have imagined.
These are the thoughts that sustain me through the emails, meetings, and news cycles, year after year, and I trust that there is some resonant chord within these words that may also sustain you as you travel through your version of the hero’s journey that is yours alone to experience. Narrow is the gate, and difficult is the way, but epic is the journey, beautiful is the view, and blessed are our companions.
Happy New Year,
Brad Kershner , Dean of School
p.s. A recurrent theme for me each year is a feeling of gratitude for those authors and elders who have helped me on my journey of learning. As I reflect on the end of 2023, I am thinking of some of the books that I’ve read recently that may be worth sharing with others. If interested, see below a list of some recommendations for reading in 2024, all of which are earnest attempts to help us through these very challenging and interesting times…
– What’s Our Problem? by Tim Urban
– At Work in the Ruins by Dougald Hine
– The Identity Trap by Yascha Mounk
– A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century by Heying & Weinstein
– Attuned by Thomas Hubl