The Eduspire Paradigm

A fresh approach to learning and living

I introduced the Eduspire Paradigm in 2016. Given the unprecedented events of 2020, it seems prudent to share it again, for those who are ready to begin working with it.


Key features:

• Learning and creativity oriented

• Children viewed as capable and self-motivated learners, creators, innovators, collaborators and leaders

• Interest/passion driven

• Heterarchic (horizontalised and level playing field)

• Self-directed and trust based

• Heart-centred and intuitive

• Community spirited

• Fully customisable (to individual, to community)

• Fluid and dynamic



We are born hard-wired for an inside-out way of life. We teach ourselves to walk and talk – as babies – without coercion or formal instruction. The desire and motivation to imitate and master the behaviour of our grown up role models comes from inside of us, as does our determination to persist in the face of setbacks. In other words, inside-out learning and living comes naturally to human beings. There is no reason why we can not allow a child’s education to continue to unfold in an equally natural and organic manner.

A society is defined by its approach to education. Its approach to education is determined by how it views its young. An inside-out society requires an inside-out model of education that views children from an inside-out perspective. It is for this reason that I have dedicated ten years of my life to formulating such a model.

The Eduspire Paradigm can not be implemented in the context of the prevailing society. It is incompatible with a hierarchic and consumerist social and economic order (and a school system that views children as consumers of knowledge, to be compared and ranked). The Eduspire Paradigm has been formulated to sit at the heart of an emerging counterculture that values self-connection and interdependence as the true source of all abundance, meaning and fulfilment. It has been designed to operate above and beyond the survival game of money and the victim culture that results from abdication of personal responsibility to governments.

We have been ‘schooled’ to view learning as a linear, sequential process controlled by a teacher. The belief that learning is a product of teaching is so indelibly entrenched in the minds of the majority that, even now, with knowledge freely available on every internet-connected device, we are still unable to relinquish our steadfast attachment to curricula teaching and testing. The Eduspire Paradigm recognises that true learning is a personal activity, not a commodity. Learning is a function of personal interest, not the dictates of teachers. It happens anywhere, at any time, with anyone. It is often incidental, invisible and unconscious. In truth, every moment of our existence presents us with an opportunity to learn.



inside-out: a worldview wherein a person seeks their answers internally and experiences their perception of the outside world as a projection of their inner world.

inside-out society: a society that supports each person in drawing forth from within their latent passion, power and potential; a society wherein people are trusted to rely on their inner guidance over external sources of authority.

eduspire: education infused with soul; an approach to education that inspires people to go within and create their lives from the inside out.

paradigm: a philosophical framework or model; a set of ideas; a worldview.

Eduspire Paradigm: an inside-out model of education designed to operate within the context of an inside-out society; a lightest possible framework of facilitation.

presupposition: something that is tacitly assumed to be true prior to pursuing a line of enquiry or course of action.


The Eduspire Presuppositions:

(1) Every child is unique.

(2) Every child is a natural-born creator and artist.

(3) The simplicity and wonder of childhood is real life.

(4) Learning is as natural as breathing.

(5) Nature is our greatest ‘external’ teacher and connection to Truth.

(6) Every child has an ‘inner’ teacher.

(7) We are all teachers and learners, regardless of age.

(8) Education is the pursuit of passion.

(9) The purpose of education (and life) is to be yourself.

(10) Change is the only constant.

(11) Failure is feedback; mistakes are opportunities to learn.

(12) Education is a collective responsibility of the whole community.



Given the inside-out nature of the Eduspire Paradigm, its implementation is very much the responsibility of individual communities and learners to determine. I see this flowing naturally out of embodiment of the twelve presuppositions outlined above. I present these core messages as presuppositions by way of acknowledging that they will not be self-evident truths to those who have not looked within and uncovered the truth for themselves. They cannot be forced upon the individual by the outside world; they are arrived at through introspection and self-inquiry. In that sense, the Eduspire Paradigm is an invitation to go within.

That being said, what I see is a multitude of ‘creative learning spaces’ appearing in local communities throughout the world in which young people of all ages work collaboratively on real-life projects of their own choosing, supported by adult facilitators. Not tied to one physical location, project teams are free to move as needed, making use of community spaces such as cafés, libraries, museums, studio spaces, theatres, community centres, village halls, gardens, parks and farms, as well as forward-thinking school sites and supportive business premises.

The goal could be to organise a concert, create a play, publish a magazine, plant a vegetable garden, co-ordinate a litter picking exercise, organise a fashion show, form a choir, shoot a documentary, create blankets for the homeless, or raise awareness about the plight of the honey bee. This is education through living; through meaningful participation and immersion in the local community. I have facilitated several such projects with young people since 2013, including the creation of a prom night for home-educated teens and a thought-provoking short film entitled ‘Beyond The Box’ (to be released in 2021).

There are plenty of child-led and creativity-aligned models of education in operation to which to turn for inspiration and reassurance, one particularly successful example being ‘Room 13 International’. Since its original art studio was set up in a primary school in Scotland in 1994, Room 13 has grown to establish an international network of student-led arts studios, each one operating as a business and facilitating the work of young artists alongside a professional adult artist in residence.

For a shining example of what is possible when curricula teaching and testing are jettisoned in favour of entrusting children with responsibility for their own education, look no further than Sudbury Valley School in Framingham, Massachusetts. Opened in 1968, SVS is a natural learning environment in which children aged 4 through 19 are free to pursue their own interests and passions within the framework of a fully participatory democratic community. Unfettered age mixing has proven to be one of its biggest strengths. SVS has inspired the creation of another 60 such schools throughout the world, including in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Israel and Japan. The first Sudbury school in the UK – East Kent Sudbury School – opened its doors in January 2019.


A gift to humanity:

The Eduspire Paradigm has been formulated with the intention of freeing present and future generations of children from the chains of external conditioning, and unleashing their innate curiosity, passion, imagination and creativity for the benefit of all. The words I have used to describe it are not as important as the state of being from which those words have sprung. Note that universal acceptance and application of the first presupposition alone would bring an immediate end to the wholly destructive myth of “normality” that pervades the existing society.

Eduspire is an idea that has flowed through me rather than from me. I arrived at it intuitively – by looking inside myself – in response to my personal life experience and two decades of interactions with children of all ages as a teacher, coach, mentor, facilitator and uncle. I live my own life in accordance with it. However, I do not claim ownership of it. I see myself as its messenger rather than its architect.

The inside-out revolution is here. There is a world of infinite possibility waiting to be explored and energised beyond the limiting confines of the box of fear in which school continues to monopolise the distribution of opportunity. The Eduspire Paradigm will speak to those whose minds are sufficiently quietened, whose hearts are sufficiently opened, and whose intuitive senses are sufficiently awakened. It will speak to those who are ready to contribute to a conscious, caring, compassionate, creativity-oriented and community-spirited world.

Children are riding the crest of the wave of an unprecedented shift in human consciousness. They are the teachers now. Our job as adults is to listen to them, honour them, trust them and – most important of all – follow their lead. Through their inside-out example, they are pointing us to the promised land. A New Earth is within our reach.

Embrace your uniqueness

Until you choose to shine the light of your conscious awareness upon your unconscious conditioning, you remain asleep; self-incarcerated in the prison cell of your own mind.

It takes courage to break out of the box of conformity. It means living in the unknown and risking the judgement of others. However, it is the only way to experience authentic happiness.

We are all unique. Life is an opportunity to be and express our uniqueness to the best of our ability. In our uniqueness lies our beauty, our strength and our message to the world. In our uniqueness lies our passion, our calling and our purpose. In our uniqueness lies our freedom and our salvation.

Q&A re future of education (2)

QUESTIONER: David, how do the children learn basic skills like phonics, writing, reading, grammar, counting, etc with the Eduspire Paradigm? My understanding is they learn from natural environments, which is so wonderful, but these other skills need to be practised through drill in order to learn, at least in the beginning. Until we become a telepathic society again, these skills will still be needed here, so how do they learn them?

DAVID: Could it be that the very idea of “drill” was drilled into us courtesy of our own schooling? Practice by drill was a requirement of the Industrial Age. The Industrial Age has come and gone. The Information Age has come and gone. We are now in the Innovation Age. And yet we still cling to Industrial Age principles. We are running Education 1.0 software in a Society 3.0 operating system.

I observe that a baby learns to walk and talk – the two most complex learning processes that any human being undergoes – without formal instruction. Babies don’t attend walking and talking classes led by walking and talking experts – in which they practise walking and talking by drill. Of course, the child receives role modelling and encouragement from his/her parent(s), but the desire to master these complex skills comes from within the child. There is an innate curiosity, an intrinsic motivation to replicate the behaviour of grown ups. What if we were to allow learning to continue unfolding in an equally natural manner throughout childhood? I recommend checking out the work of psychology professor Peter Gray. In his wonderful book “Free to Learn”, he talks about how children in indigenous tribes learn and how everything we do in school is diametrically opposed to what comes naturally to human beings. There is no formal teaching in these indigenous communities. Children learn “the basics” through observation and play.

I would also encourage you to read about the experiences of students at Sudbury Valley School in Massachusetts. (Peter Gray’s own children attended). This is an excellent example of a natural learning environment in which students (aged 4-19) mix freely and initiate all of their own learning. The school opened in 1968 and has inspired the creation of a further 60 Sudbury schools around the world. In its 48-year history, SVS has not encountered a single child with dyslexia. How is that possible? Because they don’t “teach” kids to read. The kids teach themselves – in their own way, at their own pace, WHEN THEY ARE READY and sufficiently interested. This is the biggest issue with conventional school: it forces children to do things they would otherwise CHOOSE to do if given the freedom to do so.

When children are in an environment that affords them authentic freedom to pursue their own interests and passions, they pick up the basics naturally. Consider, for instance, a child given the freedom to follow her passion for cooking. Weighing and measuring ingredients. Reading recipe books. Researching food of different cultures. Planning a trip to the supermarket. Comparing prices and brands. Creating and recording new recipes. Planning the menu for a party with a group of friends. Organising and running a cake stall at the community fete. She will naturally pick up all manner of skills – not because she has been ‘told’ to, but because she either perceives the need to, or because a desire is born out of her own curiosity/interest.

All of this comes down to TRUST. Most adults have a hard time trusting their kids because they don’t trust themselves. We were taught, as children, that we could not be trusted. And so we pass this distrust on to our own children. I am here to break this self-perpetuating cycle of distrust by reminding humanity that children CAN be trusted. How do I know this? Because I trust MYSELF – unconditionally. I know who I am. Human beings are not fundamentally inert. Every child is born innately curious. Every child possesses a natural drive to learn and to master life on this physical plane. This innate curiosity and creativity is crushed by the tyranny of adult theories. These learning theories are based on institutional wisdom, not nature. As writer and filmmaker, Carol Black, writes in her recent blog post (A Thousand Rivers), “Collecting data on human learning based on children’s behaviour in school is like collecting data on killer whales based on their behaviour at Sea World”.

As for phonics, governments around the world have invested billions in brainwashing schools into believing that this is THE way to “teach” reading. This is the source of the entirely fictitious condition dyslexia. Dyslexia is a visual learning preference. Simple as that. Kids with dyslexia have profound imaginations. They are born with a stronger connection to the right hemisphere of the brain (the visual, creative, image-inative part). They are evolved beings. Phonics is an auditory teaching approach. For visual learners, this approach goes – quite literally – in one ear and out the other. And then we hand them a learning disorder label. As a confidence and self-esteem coach for kids, I spend most of my time un-doing all the harm caused by the “phonics” scam and assuring these kids that they gifted, not disordered.

I could say much more, but, ultimately, it comes down to trust. Our willingness to trust children to be responsible for their own learning is always determined by the extent to which we trust ourselves. Many thanks for your question and interest.

Q&A re future of education (1)

QUESTIONER: David, are you planning to include the Fibonacci sequence in your curriculum?

DAVID: Thank you for your question. The Eduspire Paradigm is not an education ‘system’. There is no prescribed curriculum. Any kind of adult-imposed curriculum is old paradigm. The purpose of Eduspire is to empower children. They are the teachers now. The curriculum is within each child. The curriculum is unique to each child. The next generation of leaders will not be adults; they will be children. They will not need to be explicitly taught the Fibonacci experience; they will know it intuitively because of their strong connection to Nature. Immersing kids in Nature is a hugely important aspect of the Eduspire Paradigm, hence Presupposition #5: Nature is our greatest ‘external’ teacher and connection to Truth.

My role is to facilitate the unlocking of the creative genius inherent in each child. My role is to remove all adult interference by holding space. Again, the key to the lock is within each child. This is not something that can be programmed from the outside. Eduspire is an “inside-out” approach to learning and education. And so I am looking to connect with conscious adults who trust themselves enough to trust children to lead the way; to provide safe spaces at a local community level (e.g. coffee shops, libraries, community centres, parks) in which children can connect, collaborate, create and innovate. Humanity has lost its way. The children are here to lead us back into the light.

A message from Eddy Zhong (teenage entrepreneur)


And this is the exact purpose of my KIDS CREATE initiative: to provide supportive spaces in local communities in which children can connect, collaborate, create and innovate.

“There are not enough [adults] who are telling kids to explore more possibilities, to become entrepreneurs. And if there’s one message that I want parents, kids, and all of you to take away from what I’ve said here today, it’s that you can open your own doors, that you can stray away from this conventional, limited and narrow path that education sets us upon. You can diverge and create your own future. You can start your own companies and start your own non-profits. You can create, you can innovate…… No one has ever changed the world by doing what the world has told them to do.”
~Eddy Zhong (entrepreneur, aged 17)

A child’s inspirational plea to change our ways

Very little has changed in the 24 years since this brave young girl delivered her inspiring speech. We are still destroying the rain forests. We are still poisoning the oceans. We are still killing endangered species. We are still exploiting the poor.

Adults have demonstrated that they are totally incapable of changing their ways. It is time, now, for the children to take the lead. And I am here to facilitate this transferal of power.

Schools and sheeple syndrome

Although schools like to maintain an illusion of democracy, most are, in fact, autocratic dictatorships. There is no room for individuality in the school system. It is a hierarchy, and in a hierarchy everyone answers to the person above them. When a teacher refuses to conform to the agreed systems of operation, he causes problems for his line manager, which in turn causes problems for his line manager’s manager. This continues right up to the headteacher of the school, beyond to the local authority and ultimately to the government. Any attempts by a teacher to break the mould are therefore quashed as quickly as possible; the net around him tightens as tracking of his planning, teaching and marking by more senior figures is turned up a notch.

Similarly well-rehearsed procedures are in place to deal with children, who sit on the very bottom layer of the hierarchical pyramid, furthest away from the apex of control. A child who does not fit the system – who is not “normal” – must be fixed and forced to adapt. Any child daring to express his individuality is soon identified and beaten into submission, sometimes through the award of a “learning difficulty” label or, worse still, by being forced to take personality-suppressing drugs. Such punishments are in addition to an elaborate system of tests, reports and evaluations that constantly monitors the child’s behaviour. The widespread use of conformity bribes (disguised as “rewards”) – including stars, merits, stickers, certificates, sweets, chocolates, prizes and money – strips away any sense of personal responsibility on the part of the child and effectively places his self-worth into the hands of his adult superiors.

Operating behind an illusory curtain of democracy is very useful to headteachers and their leadership teams because it means they can force through almost any initiative they like – and then claim that everyone played a part in the decision. This is how it typically works:
(1) The headteacher (or other senior figure) makes a decision;
(2) The decision is presented to the teaching staff – usually during the five-minute morning briefing – as a “proposal” for them to discuss in their subject/year team meetings;
(3) Subject/year teams meet to discuss the proposal (decision)… until they agree with it.

It never ceases to amaze me how readily teachers play along with this game of pseudo-democracy. The problem is, they perceive themselves as having no choice in the matter. It is easier (not to mention safer) to keep quiet and to play the game than to get all worked up fighting against something that is going to be implemented with or without one’s consent.

Any individual brave enough to voice their discontent at the point at which the proposal is introduced is publicly shot down in flames and told in no uncertain terms that this is not the “appropriate” time or place to air concerns. This is then followed up with a discrete (or not-so-discrete) word from a senior figure, whose job is to discourage the dissenting individual from disturbing the peace in the future, and to remind them to raise concerns through the “agreed” channels of communication; i.e., through discussion at team meetings, or by requesting an appointment with the headteacher to discuss the decision in the privacy of his or her office.

Consequently, teachers learn to accept without question all orders from their dictators. Although they may complain behind closed doors, very few have the strength or inclination to stand up in public for what they know in their hearts to be true. Children learn that they must place their trust in the hands of “experts” if they are to succeed in life. Thus, the sheeple syndrome is perpetuated.


I learned my lessons about the insidious effects of sheeple syndrome during my second year in the teaching profession. The headteacher of the secondary school at which I was working at the time put forward a proposal to scrap the existing 5 x 50-minute-period timetable in favour of a 3 x 120-minute-period model. Morning break would be removed and the lunch period reduced from fifty to twenty minutes. The argument given to support this proposal was that increased time spent in the classroom would result in “more focused and engaged students” (I kid you not). While I could follow the logic of two-hour sessions for practical subjects such as Science, PE and Art, the proposal spelled inevitable disaster for subjects such as Maths and French, for which the best approach is “little and often”. It was hard enough keeping students engaged and on task for fifty minutes, let alone two hours! And I could find no justification whatsoever for depriving students of their morning break. This was an invaluable opportunity for students to blow off steam on the playground, not to mention a rare chance for staff (when not on unpaid corridor “duty”) to relax with colleagues over a cup of coffee in the staff room.

In the lead up to the whole staff meeting scheduled for the end of the week, I approached as many members of staff as possible to elicit their views on the proposal. All without exception were in agreement with me. Friday afternoon arrived. I stood up and articulated my concerns. Visibly outraged and struggling to maintain his composure, the headteacher simply responded with, “I disagree. There will be no further discussion on the matter”. I looked around the staff room for support from my colleagues. Not one single person came to my aid. I sat down. The headteacher moved on to the next item on the agenda. At the end of the meeting the headteacher took me to one side and “advised” me to hand in my notice. I submitted my resignation the following morning.


What was the underlying reason behind the lack of support from my colleagues in the above story?

Allow me to pose a few other questions…

* Why do so many teachers end up teaching to the test?

* Why are teachers in schools up and down this country prepared to work together in collusive conspiracy with their students to paint a false picture of their school prior to OfSTED inspections? How can we account for such reprehensibly dishonest behaviour from otherwise honest people? Why do these “teachers” not stop to think about the messages they are unconsciously implanting in the minds of children?

* Why are teachers, school leaders and local authorities so preoccupied with keeping up appearances – particularly in relation to paperwork and the provision of evidence – rather than serving the needs of children?

The answer to all of these questions can be summed up in one word:


They are afraid.

They are afraid because they are contributing to a system and a societal paradigm for living that teaches and conditions them to be afraid.

The (unconscious) thought process of the sheepled mind goes something like this:
“I don’t agree with this… but I must conform. If I don’t conform I risk losing my job. I have bills to pay, a family to support. It is safer for me to remain quiet. Besides, I want an easy life…… I will do as I am told.”

For sheeple, the purpose of education (and life) is to get (and keep) a job. To pay the bills. Safety and security is their number one priority, not Truth. To question this ‘framework of fear’ (which was schooled into them as children) would be to question the whole basis upon which their lives revolve. The Truth is just too painful for them to acknowledge. Thus, denial is the preferred option.

An important question to consider…

Is the habit of denying one’s truth something we wish to cultivate in future generations?

By contrast, here is the underlying thought process of the non-conformist, or truth bearer:
“I don’t agree with this. This makes no sense. To conform would be to betray my truth. Betraying my truth is too painful…… I must speak my truth.”

The purpose of life from the perspective of the non-conformist is to be true to oneself. The problem here is that being true to oneself means breaking one of the three unwritten rules for survival inside the system: YOU MUST FIT IN. (The other two are ‘Failure is bad’ and ‘The experts know best’).

We can see very clearly, then, that there is no place for the truth bearer within the school system (or any of society’s systems, for that matter). He does not belong. His very presence is a major threat to the masks of ignorance behind which his colleagues unconsciously hide. Thus, if he is to avoid being hung up and quartered by the sheeple handlers (i.e., senior leadership figures) – themselves, unwitting victims of sheepledom – he must find a way to live and operate outside the system. His purpose then shifts to the conscious creation of alternatives.

Welcome to my world.

Clean your window first

Your perception of the world is determined by the window through which you view it. Wanting to change the world is all very well and good. But you have to start by cleaning the window first.

Eight years ago my window was covered in dirt and grime. Now it is clean. Now I see clearly.

Now I no longer want to change the world. I am creating a new world instead…

window cleaner

Smacking children

PARENT: When is it appropriate to smack a child?

DAVID: Never.

PARENT: But there are times when my son oversteps the boundaries. For example, I can not and will not stand by and let him swear at me, his father. He needs to understand the importance of respect for his elders.

DAVID: There is no conceivable circumstance in which hitting a child is justifiable behaviour. The “adult as authority figure” approach to parenting belongs to the old paradigm of education and childrearing. The need for control over and unquestioning obedience of children is based in fear, not love.
Physiological age is irrelevant; the child is a human being. Human beings are equals. Children are equals. Children are to be treated as co-learners and co-teachers; afforded the same respect as any adult. To teach a child respect for others, you teach the child to respect himself.

PARENT: How do I do that?

DAVID: By treating yourself with respect. A parent who hits their child is lacking self-respect. A parent who hits their child is not in tune with the unconditional love that is who they truly are. A parent who hits their child has inner work to do.

PARENT: What kind of inner work?

DAVID: Smacking a child is a clear sign of an adult who does not understand their emotions and is acting out their own childhood pain. There is unconscious, dysfunctional conditioning to be brought into the light of their conscious awareness. This childhood conditioning needs to be looked at, questioned and released.

PARENT: But you don’t understand how angry he makes me sometimes.

DAVID: Nobody makes you angry. You make yourself angry by virtue of your perception of a situation and your choice of response. Projecting anger towards a child in response to their behaviour is saying, “I have no control over my internal state of being”. Physically acting out that anger by hitting the child is saying, “The outside world is responsible for my internal state of being”. This is simply not true. Such behaviour disempowers both parent and child and serves only to strengthen the wall of resentment between them.
Love is the answer. Love is always the answer. In order to respond to a child with love, you must first become your own source of love. It is the only way.

PARENT: I don’t understand why my child is so rude to me.

DAVID: Perhaps he is giving you an opportunity to look in the mirror…..

The deputy headteacher

In 2008 I was working at a middle school in a pastoral consultancy and life skills coaching role. The school was located in what might be described as a socio-economically deprived area and had recently been placed under special measures by OfSTED. The staff morale was flatter than a pancake and the staff turnover shockingly high. I remember one freckle-faced lad telling me that he’d had five form teachers in as many months. “We keep getting different supply teachers,” he said. “They come. They don’t like the place. They leave. So why should we listen to anything you have to say? You’ll only end up leaving us after a few weeks – just like all the others.”

My responsibilities included advising the leadership team on whole school behaviour management issues, coordinating PSHCE provision (Physical, Social, Health & Citizenship Education), setting up a Student Council, and providing one-to-one coaching to children identified as having social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Every child in the school knew who I was because I was also responsible for leading whole school assemblies – a role that I shared with the deputy headteacher, John.

John was decidedly “old school” in his approach to teaching and dealing with students, continually barking orders at them and taking every opportunity to criticise and belittle. To say that I was disliked by John would be the understatement of the century; the man positively despised me. I overheard him complaining about me to a colleague one day. “All this pandering to the emotional needs of pupils has got to stop,” he said. “Children must learn to do as they’re bloody well told! It’s as simple as that.” (For the record, he never addressed any of his concerns to my face.) Unfortunately, John also happened to be the individual responsible for signing my time sheet at the end of each week. In other words, my pay cheque was dependent on his signature – a situation that ultimately proved to be my downfall.

My approach to delivering an assembly was the antithesis of John’s approach. While he insisted students sit in complete silence as he talked AT them, I engaged my audience with interactive demonstrations, asked questions to get them thinking and invited them to discuss possible answers with the students around them. He consistently focused on highlighting poor behaviour; I consistently looked for the best in the students and appealed to their inherent goodness. He talked about school rules and policies; I shared the latest developments in neuroscience and quantum physics. He reinforced messages of conformity and compliance; I emphasised the importance of following your heart, pursuing your passions and living your dreams. He was closed and guarded about his private life; I was open and honest about mine, sharing personal stories and anecdotes to highlight my messages. The students found John’s assemblies boring and pointless; I regularly received a round of applause at the end of mine, finding myself surrounded at lunchtime by kids eager to talk more about the ideas and concepts that I had shared.

One day, I led an assembly on the theme of bullying. During my presentation I announced my decision to replace “Anti-Bullying Week” with a far more empowering “Pro-Peace Week”. I explained how quantum physics has shown us that energy flows where attention goes. Thus, why spend a whole week energising something that we did NOT wish to include in our experience? Instead, the students were encouraged to look for and acknowledge examples of kindness. My assembly was extremely well received by the students, as evidenced by their standing ovation at the end. Yes, children know and respond to Truth when they hear it. Adults, not so much. To date, this remains my most cherished memory as a public speaker. It was the greatest assembly I had ever led. As it happened, it would it also be my last.

The following morning I was called into the headteacher’s office. The pot of money for my post had apparently “run dry” overnight; the school would no longer be requiring my services. My internal BS meter hit the extreme right position (TOTAL BS) during this conversation. It was very clear that the headteacher’s arm had been twisted. As I drove slowly down the school drive for the final time, there were children tapping on the windows of my car – tears streaming down their cheeks – as they begged me not to leave them. Hand on heart, that was the single most heartbreaking moment of my entire life.

I didn’t want to leave. I knew I was making a difference to those kids. I had connected with them in a way that perhaps no adult had ever connected before. They had taken my messages into their hearts. So many of these kids came from troubled and unstable home backgrounds; they viewed me as a source of love, hope and inspiration in their lives. Although the decision was completely out of my hands, I did appear to be abandoning them “just like all the others”. The deputy headteacher may have gained an extra spring in his step as a result of my departure, but the students certainly didn’t gain anything. Then again, the school system was never set up for the benefit of children, was it? Everything – from compartmentalised buildings to segregation by age to fifty-minute teaching periods – is set up for the convenience of the teacher, not the learner.

What was the crux of John’s issue with me? What exactly did I do to earn his disdain? Ultimately, I was guilty of consistently speaking and embodying Truth. And he couldn’t handle it. My presence itself was his biggest issue. John wasn’t a “bad” man. As I reflect back on the situation now, I am able to view him with compassion. Putting myself in his shoes, it is clear that I threatened everything he stood for, everything he had been conditioned to believe about children and education. He had no frame of reference for anything I was saying or doing. In a way, he had no choice but to despise me. What was the alternative? Admit that I was right and that he was wrong? He’d been in the system for decades, served his time at the chalk-face, earned his stripes and progressed through the ranks to reach his well-deserved position of seniority. Who the hell did this young upstart think he was, waltzing through the corridors of the school, high-five-ing students and dismissing decades of hard-earned institutional wisdom in favour of his own newfangled claptrap?

Each of us is at a different position on our respective journey through life. John wasn’t “wrong”; he simply wasn’t ready or able to entertain a new perspective because he lived in a fixed and immutable map of reality. Nobody can be judged for not being ready for the Truth. And if they are not ready, what do they do? They shoot the messenger instead.

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