Early in the 1990s, I knew in no unmistakable terms that I was to serve “the least of these.” Throughout my career as an educator, I endeavored to do that. But late in 2014, I began to ponder the question again with greater intensity: “Who ARE the least of these that I am compelled to serve?”
Since I had spent a good deal of my time in socioeconomically disadvantaged schools, I had always assumed it was “the poor.” But recently, as I began working with a broader range of students, I realized that “the least of these” fit into an entirely different paradigm. The least of these were not just those who had no material advantages. Difficulty in learning, caused by any number of difficulties, became the great equalizer in this regard.
Was it lack of resources? Yes, for sure, but not material resources. The answer lay in cognitive/academic, social/emotional, and physio-neurological resources. Dr. Mary Meeker outlined it in 1975 to the U.S. Office of Education in the Meeker Paradigm. I had known about the Meeker Paradigm since my earliest exposure to SOI. But as of late, it began taking on new meaning as I pondered the reason for the impact of SOI and why it had so completely changed my approach to learning and teaching and set me on a course that would inform the rest of my life’s work.
As I considered the question, I was admonished by a friend, a fellow educator, and grandparent of one of my students, “You don’t have to be poor to be in need!” The truth is, right now, there are parents, grandparents, teachers, who are praying for answers to questions regarding their children’s learning. They are asking questions from which no answers are arising. These parents and teachers have done everything they know, and still have no answers. Here are “the least of these,” those whose destinies will forever change!
So, this is what motivates. This is what awakens me in the morning with great expectation and promise.
THE LEAST OF THESE…
Join us in Lubbock, January 14-15, 2016 as we all learn at the SOI National Workshop. Diane Hochstein will lead the charge, joined by Dylan Fitzpatrick and others. It will be a wonderful time of learning and motivation. Don’t miss this opportunity!
written by: Renee Anderson, SOI Systems Senior Program Consultant