How can we teach and nourish children so that small changes have a significant impact on their transformation as well as helping our planet? And what do growing plants and listening have in common for this transformation to be possible?
Stephen Ritz is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning educator, author of best-selling book, The Power Of A Plant and Founder of Green Bronx Machine. Known as America's favorite teacher and 2015 Top Ten Finalist for the Global Teacher Prize, Stephen is responsible for creating the first edible classroom in the world. He and his students have grown more than 130,000 pounds of vegetables in the South Bronx, were celebrated at the Obama White House three times, have been featured on the cover of TIME for KIDS, and are the subject of a new, full-feature documentary, Generation Growth. Stephen is now appearing in the new PBS educational series Let's Learn with Mister Ritz, was named the 2020 Change-Maker Award by NYC Food Policy Center for his response to COVID, named a 2021 Food Hero by TMZ Live, and was awarded the 2021 Artemis CEA Disruptor Award for his work, advocacy, and impact in public schools across NYC and America.
In this episode, Stephen shares how farming and listening to the smallest of things are crucial in healing ourselves and our planet. Just like the plants, both need to be cultivated between planting the seed and growing them. As with our children -- to realize their goals and aspirations, there has to be nurturing in between.
"The power of a soft, gentle voice really enables people to tune in. I always say, in this world of social media and so much negativity, we need to learn to separate the noise from the signal and really clue into what the universe is telling us. It's a remarkable way of doing business and going forward and finding your little place and your little piece on the planet." - Stephen Ritz
Listen IN Notes:
00:42 - Stephen being a big believer in meeting people where they're at: by looking and by listening.
02:26 - How the small things in life can bring peace and tranquility; listening to children being a critical piece -- they're making noise because they want to be heard.
04:10 - All it takes is one good, succinct message.
08:05 - Compassion as the key to tuning in to the signal of the kids.
09:56 - There are always three sides to a story: one side, the other side, and the truth.
11:07 - Why should the basic rules of life still apply despite changing technology?
12:30 - How do gardening and listening enable you to pause for a cause?
14:57 - What the beauty of farming teaches us how to nourish children.
16:35 - That one question that people are asking Stephen.
18:21 - Appreciation he receives from children that is worth life itself.
19:25 - Stephen shares what he wants people to hear.
21:44 - One thing Stephen wants us to think about and make a change in the way we treat children.
22:23 - Stephen talks about the Green Bronx Machine and its purpose: We grow vegetables, our vegetables grow students, our students grow the schools, and our schools grow happy, healthy, resilient communities.
"For me, compassion is the new curriculum. And compassion starts with hearing voices. I believe every child has a voice, and every child has a story. And our stories are our ladders to success. And if we listen, we learn, and if we learn, we share." - Stephen Ritz
"In terms of tuning into the heart, into the emotion, including content, you want that content coming in a soft, gentle manner." - Stephen Ritz
"Learning to be kinder, learning to be gentler, learning to slow down so that the wheels hit the ground enables you to go much faster." - Stephen Ritz
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