Speaker: Jon Madian

Reflections on a Life of Service in Public Education

When a bio was requested, educator & author Jon Madian, our guest this week, introduced himself in this poetic manner.....
What to say about a long life just begun
 so suddenly nearly over--
At 72, still climbing hills
and drilling wells
to make myself and the world more sane,
Had lots of luck and some success,
planted a few trees
knelt by crystal clear streams
became less attached to my own reflections
helped a few folks
learned lots and still learning 
more able to accept grief and crazies
within & around me, sometimes...
A psychotherapist in the 60's, 
thought psychoanalysis had THE answer
to the question I'd asked since childhood—
Why is the world so nuts?
Why is public education so painfully irrelevant?
Thought theology, Jung, Reichian body-work, yogas,
Zen, being in love, having a family, being a writer, were all answers,
 and all were, and weren't...
 Might better have stayed with the polliwogs in the streams 
flowing in the horizon defining purple mountains,
and with the red ants and sticker plants
in the vacant lots 
in the San Fernando Valley where WW2 ended
in a foxhole dug by dirt-smudged, t-shirt clad children
Wrote a children’s book in the 60's
about a beautiful, angry ghetto boy in an ugly alley 
who learns to see the beauty all around him
serendipity smiled,
the book was embraced by educators
grants flowed
 to show communities of creative people
how they might use computers to build
a beautiful new culture of education
The L.A. inner city Artist-in-Residence Reading Project
evolved into Humanities Software 
and into a national journal on how people use technology
to support curriculum
i wrote about
the beauty of diversity
the beauty of ideas
the science of human development,
symbol making and identity
the genius of dreams,
poetry & initiations
and grief
as worth exploring in our classrooms
and later about
a sense of place and values
and how "local" trumps "global"
and face-to-face trumps virtual, but not always
Believed then, and still believe
culture creators,
 "smithies of the soul"
using technology can develop
and publish curriculum that celebrates the arts, sciences,
Humanities, civic activity, and business
in ways that initiate young people into their healthiest selves
and communities into their highest purpose
so what is left after time scoured my youthful arrogance--
mindfulness, which seems another word for witnessing,
non-judgment of myself and others
love for amazing children, amazing adults,
a sense of awe that the ever-emerging uni-verse is
one gorgeous poem, one beautiful song that is to be loved,
knelt before and never understood...
 blessed to know
it takes time for falling bodies to light
Still have some projects i want to do...
want to serve rather than self-promote
want to be free, not harnessed
to my ox-cart of fear and ambition...
Believe with Winston Churchill that success is
stumbling from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm...

Please join us on the 1st of February to hear Jon's story...

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