As we continue to look at our theme for this year, “Spark: The Power to Ignite,” we are going to take some time and specifically look at the power of passion.
Passion and finding your passion are unique concepts in life that are often difficult to define. There is not a specific road map on how to find your passion and even defining what it is can be a little nebulous.
In trying to define passion there are numerous definitions and statements. Author Brian Schwartz said that “a consuming passion is the last thing you think about before you go to bed at night and the first thing you think about when you wake up.” It has been described as “an addiction, and if someone told you to stop, it would be impossible for you to give it up.” I think my favorite description of what passion is comes from the Urban Dictionary, “Passion is when you put more energy into something than is required to do it. It is more than just enthusiasm or excitement, passion is ambition that is materialized into action to put as much heart, mind, body and soul into something as is possible.”.
Though a little hard to put your finger on, I believe we can all say that we know passion when we see it. I had that opportunity with some of my students a couple years ago. I had picked up two high school boys to work on a project for the day and in all honesty they were not too excited to be there and their level of enthusiasm was pretty low. To get them more engaged, I started to talk with them. It was a long weekend and the day before had been a day off from school. I asked what they did and they both perked up and became animated. They began to describe to me how they had spent nine hours together writing and producing a techno song on their computer and keyboards. There it was, passion. They had spent nine hours “working” and yet if they could have left the project we were working on to go spend the rest of their time off to work on their song, they would have done it in a heartbeat.
So why are we talking about passion? Because passion is a part of a fulfilling, successful, and purpose-filled life. As parents and educators we need to help our children/students find their passion(s). We need to start moving away from the industrial model of education that forces children to sit in seats and take the same courses and do mundane tasks to meet requirements, and instead create an environment where students can pursue their passions. The big question is how to do that? There is not an easy answer to that question, but it is one that we need to wrestle with and work on.