One of a Kind – David Elkind

So after spending the first two days, just wandering around and thinking through my presentation etc I connected with some of the early arrivals at the World Forum. The WoFo office was bustling with activities in preparation and I offered to help by putting some of the portfolios together etc and shared some easy banter with the organizers. It was absolutely wonderful to be part of the behind the scenes work even if it was for a short while – just to get a feel of what it takes to put something as huge as the WoFo together.

Bonnie and Roger seemed so down to earth, one would not be blamed to assume that they haven’t a sense of the impact they are creating world-wide, but I am sure they know and that is part of the reason they can take on this daunting but priceless task. Please read more about the WoFo http://worldforumfoundation.org/wf/wp/

This was the morning of Saturday, I took off on my own in the afternoon and explored the island, going to the museums and checking out the shopping in Waikiki. Late Saturday was the first session on Play which continued into the next two days.

The work and advocacy of WoFo is undertaken largely by working groups, there are working groups by now for Children in Indigeneous Families, Children living with Aids, Rights of the Child, The Nature Action Group, Men in Early Childhood Education etc and now ‘Children and Play’. Being an early arrivee [I liked that word I just made up] I signed up for the group on play. Its one of the newest groups and it needed a lot of work, including coming up with its mission and vision statement and a logo, let alone decide on what its key initiatives would be over the course of the next 2 years, before we convene for the next WoFo.

The work cut out for our group was so stressful that the group would break away every now and then to go and play in the beach! No seriously that was part of the agenda of the group. I am proud to say we came up with a mission and vision statement and have decided to call our group World Play. More on this in later blogs but I have to share this story.

Monday morning the session started nice and early at 8.30 a.m. after an All Working Groups Meeting and Reception the previous evening. As we settled into our seats and started our discussions I saw author Susan Linn [ http://www.consumingkids.com/bio.htm ] say to someday who walked in and say “Hi David I thought you were coming in for the third session not the first one”, and this gentleman remark “Oh I thought it was the first session”. I turned to read his name card and it said David Elkind.[ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Elkind ] I found the usually animated and vocal me turn completely tongue tied. Folks this was the David Elkind, the man who wrote The Hurried Child and many other works we EC Educators hold so close to our hearts.

As usuual the inimitable David had things to say that touched our hearts and minds. He talked about the constant struggle between perceived economic values and human values. He said invariably leaders only understand the economic values and pursue them to the cost of human values. Much of what he said I could link to in my presentation later in the week.

After the session I walked up to him and asked for a photograph to be taken with him. This is what I said, “I don’t normally do this [lies], but I speak about your work all the time to my students [truth], and now on when I speak about you, I need to be able to prove to them that I actually met you [stretching the truth]”. What was most endearing was, after the picture was taken I turned around and saw him turn as red as beet. What a remarkably humble and understated person, I just wish I could’ve spent the rest of the days listening to him but there were other big fish to catch too.

Monday evening we all went to bed early in anticipation of the arrival of the rest of the participants and the many Guided Tours that were organized for us early next day. More about that in my next blog.

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