Meet Jin, the one in the “I’ve Got Style” t-shirt. He lives in my neighbourhood. Hardly a day passes when you don’t see him out and about. If he’s not negotiating traffic on his shiny, modern mountain bike, he’s doing tai-chi in the local playground. He doesn’t walk like someone who has been socialized to walk in a certain manner. It’s probably more akin to my toddler; all animated, lifting knees, hopping, waving arms around, keeping that circulation going, limbs stretched. He’s probably 100 pounds soaking wet.
Jin is 91 years-old. He smiles as often as a dog wags its tail, and, man, is he cockier than a peacock on graduation day. Every time I speak to him, it’s like an intravenous hit of seratonin, as his energy and gleeful stance on life is infectious to say the least. When I asked him if I could blog about him, he gave me a kung-fu pose and said, “OK, blog!”
I really wish our students could be around people like Jin more regularly. What happened in our culture that made us laud youth above all else? Even in education we too often express implied irrelevance, if not disdain, for the wisdom that comes with age. Most of our ‘rock stars’ in education are relatively young, the trend for formal leadership positions seems to lean towards youth, and ‘innovation’ is too often presumed to occur with the younger set.
You’re telling me our kids don’t have anything to learn from people like Jin?