Making Visible Connections in Unlikely Places

bench_windwillowThese benches have been popping up all over London this summer. They’re crafted as an open book and painted with scenes from a specific book. This one tells the story of Wind in the Willows and sits just across from (can you guess where?).  The benches were the result of a collaborative brainwave from the National Literacy Trust and Wild in Art group to promote reading. You can actually get a map that you can do a scavenger hunt for all of them – what fun. What got me really thinking was the genius-ness of the idea.  A perfect backdrop for conversation with anyone you meet along the way.

How many times have we been so engrossed in our lives or focused on our smartphones that we miss out on the beauty of the moment or the people crossing our paths? There are many competing forces at play that take time away from those opportunities to interact. Connections happen in the most unlikely of places; an acknowledgement to a fellow runner on the path, a casual chat with a neighbour about their garden, a smile to the harried cashier at the grocery store, a conversation at the farmers market about the variety of new apples popping up on shelves. Each situation offers an environment to interact much like the London book benches.

So here’s a challenge for all of us. How are you finding time to blend the ‘world of busy’ and the ‘world of the here’? How would you create the spaces in your schools, classrooms, workplaces to invite the interaction? Really interested in any ideas.

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2 thoughts on “Making Visible Connections in Unlikely Places

  1. Sounds simple. But in our program (alternate school gr 10-12) each month-ish we have a “games day” or “activity day.” Staff & students alike, stop classes, grab games, and sit down to play for a couple of hours. It’s important to have interactions that aren’t all “business.”

    1. Hi D’Alice
      Thank you for your contribution. It sounds very much like a great time of connecting and engaging in deepening relationships.
      I believe that learning begins with relationships and connectedness. I would suggest that it is part of the business of education and belongs front and center. Coming together to learn should include fun and downtime and uptime. It is through relationship building that we allow ourselves to trust enough to take risks – the big risks of our dreams.
      Thanks for caring for our students of the world and giving them a positive place to grow and be nurtured.

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