Questions from the Future of Minnesota

Paul Maeker
by Paul Maeker | Mar 21, 2012
| 6 Comments
Competition Finalist

This entry has been selected as a finalist in the
Challenge III: Working Together Across Cultures and Faiths competition.

Summary:

Leadership plays a huge role in creating an environment for working together across cultures and faiths. Children will be filling these leadership roles in the future. The proposed idea is to establish a forum for dialogue between current leaders and future leaders of Minnesota.
· How do we envision ourselves to be in a decade?
· What will we look like?
· How will we work together?
These are important questions to think about in order to facilitate intentional creation of the Minnesota we want to see. The idea is to invite 5th and 6th graders to brainstorm and generate questions to present to current Minnesota leaders -- political leaders, educational leaders, business leaders, religious leaders, and other cultural community leaders. A panel would be established to select the best questions. Those children with the selected questions would then have a day with the participating leaders to directly ask their questions. Then the leaders would respond to the best of their knowledge and ability to educate and inspire these future leaders of Minnesota. This collection of Q & As could then be made into a book: Intercultural and Inter-faith Dialogue between Current and Future Leaders of Minnesota.

About You

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About You

First Name

Paul

Last Name

Maeker

Country

United States, MN

City

Innovation

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Title

What is your best idea to build bonds and work together across cultures and faiths in your community?

Leadership plays a huge role in creating an environment for working together across cultures and faiths. Children will be filling these leadership roles in the future. The proposed idea is to establish a forum for dialogue between current leaders and future leaders of Minnesota.
· How do we envision ourselves to be in a decade?
· What will we look like?
· How will we work together?
These are important questions to think about in order to facilitate intentional creation of the Minnesota we want to see. The idea is to invite 5th and 6th graders to brainstorm and generate questions to present to current Minnesota leaders -- political leaders, educational leaders, business leaders, religious leaders, and other cultural community leaders. A panel would be established to select the best questions. Those children with the selected questions would then have a day with the participating leaders to directly ask their questions. Then the leaders would respond to the best of their knowledge and ability to educate and inspire these future leaders of Minnesota. This collection of Q & As could then be made into a book: Intercultural and Inter-faith Dialogue between Current and Future Leaders of Minnesota.

Impact and Sustainability

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How will your idea have a positive impact on your community?

I have children who are around this age and attending a diverse public school. I am a witness to them beginning to see themselves as part of a world that is larger and more complex. They are very adept at noticing differences among people and are in the developmental process of trying to figure out what these differences mean and how they should be evaluating them. I am amazed at their curiosity and eye-opening observations that are less clouded by social constraints around diversity. You can see wonder and innocence in their worldview and, as a result, they often ask questions that adults hesitate or are afraid to ask. There are few spaces outside the home that offer safety for children to test out such questions. This proposed idea would offer such a place. It would give them an opportunity to think about and visualize the future – that, through this cross-generational dialogue, they may one day be a leader that has to make sense of and utilize diversity.

The proposed idea would also teach two important skills that all leaders need, namely being able to determine what questions are worth asking and how to ask questions in a meaningful way. The reward for successfully constructing meaningful questions then would be receiving multiple, diverse responses from current leaders.

What do you think the lasting effect will be if your idea is implemented?

The lasting effect of this idea’s process would be widespread. The asking and answering of these questions would facilitate and support both children and adults in thinking about the future and the effects that their decisions produce. Children are future leaders, but also embody what current leaders have already lived through (i.e. childhood) and possibly what they have forgotten. In essence, it would be two-way learning where future leaders (children) would learn about current leaders (adults), while current leaders would learn or re-learn about the diverse communities that they are leaders in. A goal should be a collaboration between the public sector, school districts, education foundations, and leaders’ organizations. With schools being the starting point for implementation, educational stakeholders like teachers, administration, parents and other family members would hopefully be inspired to support and nurture students in thinking about the future and their role as a future leader.

A more tangible outcome would be a book and even a video that compiled the questions and responses. The book could be showcased in libraries and bookstores (perhaps with proceeds going to schools), while the video could be sent to news organizations and housed on the internet for a wider audience to see. Overall, the proposed idea could be turned into a model for carrying out on a smaller or larger scale. It could easily be implemented within an organization, at the city or county level, the state level, nationally, or even internationally.

Katina Petersen said: Best of luck to you! about this Competition Entry. - 2408 days ago read more >
Nancy Maeker said: Can you imagine this conversation happening in all Minnesota schools and the impact that conversation would have for the present ... about this Competition Entry. - 2409 days ago read more >
Christopher Buckley said: This is exactly the kind of dialogue we need in Minnesota and across the country right now. Children need opportunities to meaningfully ... about this Competition Entry. - 2432 days ago read more >
Paul Maeker said: Thank you Gretchen and Patricia. Here's a video that helps visualize what it would look like. It doesn't parallel exactly how we would ... about this Competition Entry. - 2432 days ago read more >
Gretchen Twiss said: I love this idea! I think it would be awesome for kids to get access to leaders in the community. They would not only learn subject ... about this Competition Entry. - 2433 days ago read more >
Patricia Lueth said: I really LIKE this idea! It sounds interesting and wonderful for various MN. leaders & students. Everyone may learn alot from this ... about this Competition Entry. - 2433 days ago read more >

Paul Maeker updated this Competition Entry. - 2447 days ago

Paul Maeker updated this Competition Entry. - 2463 days ago

Paul Maeker submitted this idea. - 2463 days ago