I visited Venice last year and while we were there the tide rose into the Piazza San Marco. We watched the water rise and tourists walk on planks as children splashed in the water seeping up through the drains. I didn't think too much about it at the time.

Then I read, A history of flooding in the sinking city of Venice – in pictures
and I began to see the flooding a whole new way.

Marlena and her husband in Venice in 2014.
The city of Venice is adapting to the fact that they are slowly sinking into the ocean, or rather that the ocean is slowly rising around them. They have developed an elaborate system that allows them to determine the exact height of the incoming tide and are able to warn shop owners so that they may move their merchandise the designated number of inches above the floor. Considering the collection of glass and high end merchandise, it is not an easy task to move everything off the floor by a meter or two.

Ramps and blocks are stored in handy locations and are quickly installed so that residents and tourists may walk above the water. Residents and visitors are no longer allowed to have living quarters on the ground floor due to the increased flooding and resulting dampness. Even the tile stone floor of St. Mark's Square has been raised. And flood gates are in the process of being installed to control the ever increasing number of flood events and higher tides.
Apparently, it's not about individuals adapting to change.

This is resiliency on a much larger scale, a community, a country, or even the whole world scale!


This is the resiliency that our students today will need in order to navigate the world of the future.

Let's face it, technology is not the only way our world is changing. The way war is being waged is changing before our eyes, global warming is affecting our world, plastics pollute the ocean. In my home neighborhood, the unprecedented California drought brings the double whammy of dryness and destructive fire. Even Pope Francis has warned that humanity's "reckless" behavior has pushed the planet to a perilous "breaking point." (CNN)

When educators talk about preparing students for a future we don't yet understand, I tend to imagine a world filled with technology, opportunity, entrepreneurship, and self directed education. One in which careers have yet to be created. Like the Geographical Information System (GIS) that my daughter now works on for a living- unknown to us just 6 years ago. I also think of the original goal of an American educational system that educates every child so that every adult may be capable of participating in democracy. I don't really think about the greatest challenges facing humanity. But they have arrived, like a midnight guest persistently tapping on the door. 

This is our real call to action.
Without world stability, our American way of life is surly at risk. This is what resiliency means to me now. My call to action is to teach our students to not only navigate the changes upon us, but like the city of Venice, to participate in the creative problem solving and re-construction of a society that can respond to the changes that we cannot easily fix or predict.

More than ever, our children are our hope for the future! 

I ask myself, how do we go about this tremendously daunting task?

To start, teach each child to think on their own and to be creative in solving problems, and most importantly, teach them empathy for others. 

And as educators, we must constantly and vigilantly seek new ways to prepare every student for the future that awaits, for our call to action is a great one and reaction now will bring hope for the future.



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