Since publishing The Path to Purpose in 2008, I’ve been trying to see how ideas from the book can help with some of the challenges we’re facing as we move into the 21st Century – a new era that already has shown itself to be incredibly dynamic, intricate, and rich with opportunity and risk. It is a time that has been especially tricky for many young people, in their school years and beyond. Despite heroic efforts by leaders in the worlds of business, education, and government, rates of school failure and the “achievement gap” among our students haven’t budged much over the past three decades. Post-school, legions of young adults have been drifting through life without finding anything to dedicate themselves to that they consider meaningful. These are amazingly bright and talented young adults who deserve a chance to employ their many gifts for their own hopeful futures and that of the society that they will inherit.
Fortunately, I am not traveling alone in my post-Path-to-Purpose explorations. For one thing, during the talks that I give to parents and teachers, people in the audience share illuminating stories, insights, and comments with me, and they ask questions that help me stretch my thinking beyond anything I have previously imagined. I have many colleagues in education and psychology who offer me great ideas and give me feedback on what I’m working on. And I get fascinating e-mails from folks whom I have never met, pushing me in new directions and correcting wrongs turns I may have taken in my writing. All of this communication is tremendously generative in helping me address complex issues that are far larger than anything I could solve alone.
This is where this blog comes in. I’m starting this blog as a way to be more systematic in my efforts to communicate, and get feedback on, my explorations in new areas that I still have lots to learn about. Some of these explorations are conceptual, involving ideas about education, human development, and the future of American society. Others are practical, involving ways to bolster young people’s aspirations by helping them find purpose in life.
The blog format will provide me a way of airing new ideas of this sort. The ideas will be unproven; and in some cases they will be too hastily considered and mistaken. For this and many other reasons, I welcome your posts to this blog. I may or may not agree with what you say, but I will certainly take away something valuable from any comment that you care to make.