Someone recently asked me the question, “Karen, what would you like to do next?” My answer was simple. “I’d like to blow the walls off public education, turn it on its ear, and recreate it.” I want to create powerful learning and experiences from K through LIFE, encourage people to step outside their comfort zones to discover the possibilities.
I believe that education is the key to everything, which I realize may sound a bit over the top. Yet I am hard-pressed to find examples of struggles, accidents, injustices, or just plain misses that don’t somehow come back to how people were educated, or not educated. As the parent of a 9-year old, I feel fully the weight of my responsibility to raise this child to be smart, open-minded, fair, compassionate, loving, strong, and to think for herself. This is only one part of the partnership, of the community in place to create such a human being.
Education starts at home. It is either embraced or it is not. Children are taught, or they are not. Once we join hands with education outside the small circle of family, the community has truly begun, and the possibilities are limitless. We as humans can live to be 100, so how can we dare to fit learning into a 13 year block, with a start and a finish. Our abilities to provide for our families, contribute to our communities, fight for change in our countries, and preserve life on our planet are directly tied to our ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn.
And yet education continues to be singled out for reduction and liquidation. It is slaughtered in the name of budget cuts without thought as to the impacts. At the mercy of a tax-based system, it will continue to fail, and we will fail in our responsibility to our communities and our country.
So, yes, I am MOST interested in your organization. I think that your mission is dead on, and I have seen no one else take such an interest in education. It would be an honor to be part of the charge forward.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
The reality of leaving a place that has become home and family, not only for my head and heart but for my soul, has descended squarely upon me today. Sometime during the night, it seeped quietly through my skin, and was aborbed deep into my bones and my bloodstream. I succumbed to its presence, knowing that resistance would provide no relief, and I wept. And I have come to understand that this feeling is not yet ready to subside, that I will again weep for such a loss.
And so I sit here in my dining room, the sun shining on the world outside, a gentle breeze blowing my blinds and the chimes on the porch, and I pen what I hope will be an adequate goodbye, knowing full well that there is no such thing.
I walked into the walls of Disney 12 years ago knowing full well that for perhaps the first time in my life I was in the right spot. I knew nothing of the adventure that lay ahead, but the certainty of my place in it was immediate. I had come home, at long last, and after a very long search.
Twelve years, my dear friends. Twelve at the same time unfairly brief and exhaustingly long years. For twelve years, I have:
- Toiled with brave and courageous colleagues
- Battled the dragons of bureaucracy, nearsightedness, and culture
- Danced with the magical concepts of strategy and progress
- Risen to the challenge of those who were unsure
- Stretched the minds and imaginations of brave human beings
- Been humbled by the vastness of possibility
- Succeeded beyond my own imagination
- Failed most humanly
- Held the hands of people who will forever be friends
- Loved openly and without fear
- Found the gift of grace with the help of stars in human form
- Remained true to myself
- Learned more than I ever thought possible
None of this could I have done alone. I believe without hesitation that no one walks into your path without something to be given, received, or learned. To those who challenged me, and who doubted me, I give equal appreciation and loving thanks. For I have grown immeasurably, thanks in equal part to you. To those who love me outright, I can offer no words to express what you have given me, and how I feel for each of you now, today, at this moment, other than how deeply I love you back. I thank you, with every inch of my heart and soul, for making this part of my journey, my life, so powerfully transformational, and so consumed with love.
It was my hope from the earliest of days that I would leave a legacy that would make me and those who knew me proud. I could not have imagined how it would feel today, looking back and knowing that, because of who I am, I made a difference. I am SO proud. I am proud of myself, I am proud of you, I am proud of US. May the fruit of our partnership and friendship live on, and in some way move this company into the future. I have faith that it shall, and hope that you do as well.
I will miss the magic. I will miss the walls of my womb-like office to which all were welcome. I will miss the anger, the sarcasm, and the laughter. I will miss the struggles and the ease of flow. And I will miss you. I will miss you so very, very much.
May life unfold for each of you in the most powerful of ways. And may you be happy, truly happy. I take each of you with me. And though I won't be there in person, I will be close, always close.