“Have you ever dreamed that you were flying?” The question was posed to Springer students at a recent assembly, kicking off a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on our campus.
Daniel Dancer, artist, photographer, activist, and visionary, brought his craft and philosophy to students and staff, as we each became a single drop of black paint in a “painting” of our mascot, the Springer Eagle – a painting best viewed from atop a 50-foot crane. As we collaborated to produce our communal artwork, Daniel challenged us to “put our skysight on!”
So, what is skysight? To Daniel, skysight is the ability to see the whole first – an ability he believes lies hidden within each of us. It is this ability that Daniel’s Art For The Sky program seeks to awaken. He believes that many of our world problems stem from the fact that we are unable to see “the forest for the trees,” and that our sight is mired down in what is at ground level. If we globally set our sights on seeing the “big picture,” Daniel believes we will ultimately find solutions to problems that face us.
At Springer, our culture seeks to guide students through a process we call “Hill-Skill-Will” that uses conceptual thinking similar to skysight. To define our goals, we take a mountain-top perspective, which allows us to clearly see the “Hill” that is our goal. When we achieve our goal, what will it look like “from the top of the mountain?” After defining the “Hill,” we seek to identify the “Skill” we will need to accomplish our goal. This involves looking at what we know about ourselves as learners, and deciding what we need to “get the job done.” Once we determine the path to accomplishing our goal, we evaluate the “Will” to succeed. What roadblocks could derail us? What do we do if a roadblock pops up? How do we persevere through the tough parts to complete a task or goal? How do we call on our resilience when we fail the first time around? Even our very youngest primary students are able to move through this process.
I encourage you to watch the video Daniel Dancer created with our courageous, resilient students. Entitled “Flight School,” the video captures the spirit and exuberance of the children as they work together to “paint” the eagle.
On Daniel’s website you can read about the six teachings he shared with our students, which included skysight, and you can view other Sky Art he has created throughout the years.
I leave you with this quote from Daniel: “Art changes people – people change the world!” We could not help but be changed by our experience this week, and will never forget our 200 students “collaborating” with one common goal in mind.
Now, go out and get YOUR skysight on!