Monday, October 12, 2009

Investing in Community

 As I think about how we can improve opportunity and success for all students – particularly those that have the motivation, but have lacked the push to succeed – I am reminded of a tradition we have back in the Philippines. There is a Filipino term for it, bayanihan (pronounced bah - yah - nee - han).  It is taken from the word bayan, referring to a nation, town or community. The whole term bayanihan refers to a spirit of communal unity or effort to achieve a particular objective. The term also can be traced from a common tradition in Philippine towns where community members volunteer to help a family move to a new place.


The process involves literally carrying the house to its new location. This is done by putting bamboo poles forming a strong frame to lift the stilts from the ground and carrying the whole house with the men positioned at the ends of each pole. The tradition also features a small celebration, a fiesta hosted by the family to express gratitude to the volunteers. The entire community celebrates when a family is able to improve their life and move to a new and better location in the community. It is a momentous occasion because it reminds other community members that what is possible for other families is possible for them. This is nothing short of solidarity – a term all of us should be familiar with.


By knowing where you can carry the weight, which end of the pole to hold, and how to synchronize our steps so that our “house” moves in a perfect and balanced way, we are all able to take K-12 education, particularly in the middle grades, to a higher place.

(Posted by Higher Achievement Program CEO Richard Tagle.) 

1 comment:

  1. Thought provoking - - so much of what we do can be informed by this tradition.