These readings have been timely for me, coming in a season when my daughter spent many weeks this summer engaged both at home and abroad in areas related to public health and global aspects of education and community care. In part because of this I find the writings of Reimer compelling on many levels. In the preface Howard Gardner's calls to both a realistic grasp of the challenges and to a central understanding of the "kinds of human beings that we are raising and the kinds of societies – indeed in a global era, the kind of world society – we are fashioning" resonates close to home as well. Seeing my daughter's passion and sense of deep connection with the people from rural communities in Nicaragua and knowing that many aspects of that passion have been nurtured and grown through teachers and experiences here at BB&N give me reasons to pause in both wonder and gratitude.
At the same time, I find myself agreeing with Zoe who blogged some of her concerns about the need for a home space and a local "place". Our efforts to prepare our students for "the world out there" continues to require that we challenge them daily to look hard at the "world in here." By that I mean the "in here world" of BB&N and also the more precious one within each of them. Understanding of self and a sense of place within our own community remains a vital aspect of gaining the requisite confidence, skill, and motivation for the world beyond (near or far). At times I feel we allow too many students to move for too long through our spheres of influence without engaging them as both learners and people. Are we as good as we can be in pulling all students into the "conversation" or at least identifying those loitering on the fringes of our "place". No doubt many or perhaps most are connecting and being challenged in both academic and affective modes but it can be so easy to let those who start with less initial capital in these areas to drift along behind the curve.
In response to these ideas I find myself wondering if there is another set of "characteristics for success" for recognizing global perspectives and developing the capacity to communicate within the global environment. How might we be even more intentional in regard to developing these internal competencies if we see the even greater connections to the aspects of a more excellent BB&N education that we highlight in these readings? I find myself saying "Yes!" to the concepts in these articles while wondering how well packed we are for the journey. Robert Coles warned that "as so-called 'cultural literacy grows', what could be called 'moral literacy' declines". Embarking on this good journey we have to be attentive so that in being more globally aware, capable, and connected we do not abdicate the internal conversation lest our students have a place of privilege in the global conversation with nothing of substance to say.