Two hours ago I woke up to that special kind of muffled winter silence, pulled the shade, and looked out the window. While we slept, the weather remade our average neighborhood into a fantastic land. We got the kind of snow that makes Minnesota a special place to live. I couldn’t wait for our 4th grader to wake up and see the outside prepared this way for him. An unexpected forest beyond the wardrobe!
Then a message arrived from the school district. No words can so quickly dispel magic:
Today is an E-learning day.
Rather than an experience novelty, unexpectedness, and an opportunity to see our environment in a new way, the message instructed parents to tell our children to look away and watch their education.
Instead of instructing kids to put on their boots, bundle up and explore the novelty of the moment—taking time to learn from difference—we got politely-worded call to perform a ritual of digital business-as-usual.
Education isn’t just delivering content—regardless of format. It’s about listening to the world, facing difference, and taking advantage of unique opportunities to see in new ways.
E-learning says: content delivery must go on. Ignore the friction of the world—stay on schedule, check the clock, log on. Synchronize with the team at all costs.
What I see outside my window is inviting something else. Learn to listen when the environment speaks. Rather than the mundane everyday, today is a day that the world is making it easier for us to pay attention.
Today should be a Snow Day.
Snow Days are holidays of humility. They are days when we throw our hands up in the air and let the world win for a change. They are a witness and an offering.
In the age of the climate crisis we need to learn to be more curious, more observant and more willing to pay attention to the world, not doubly quick to stay inside, take cover, hit a screen and play as if that isn’t going on out there.
The pandemic taught us many things and Zoom at all cost must not be one of them. We need to resist 24/7 screen productivity.
We need to bring back snow days as ultimately a very valuable kind of Earth learning.