“On 9/11 I was in mid town Manhattan working with a hotel chain. At that point in my career I was spending most of my time using Appreciative Inquiry with corporations and large government agencies.
I had just asked the group the question: “Is then the same as now?”… does the past predict the future or is the world fundamentally different than it was?
The group of 70 senior Hotel executives had just begun the conversation when the Executive Vice President walked into the room and said “The World Trade Centers have been hit!”
The crisis committee was called together to see how their ten New York City hotels could respond to what everyone imagined as a need for housing for medical personnel.
No one knew what was happening – the networks were not on TV. Phone service was disrupted. Some thought it was the beginning of World War Three.
Many of the Appreciative Inquiry session participants and the corporate staff had friends or family who worked in the World Trade Centers.
I volunteered to look after Rachel, aged three, so her mother Lynette could do the work that needed to be done. Lynette had picked Rachel up from her daycare. The little girl had seen the smoke and heard the sirens. She was worried.
I held her hand and we walked around the office. The reactions to this child were remarkable… staff members who were sitting as if frozen un-froze, those who were crying stopped when they heard Rachel’s voice. She had a healing presence.
That is when I realized that children and youth are the Image and Voice of Hope.
When things are at their worst, hope comes when we remember the children.
If you are working to bring strengths-based approaches to schools and youth, you are doing very important work.
This is the work we are called to do, and I’m proud to be a part of this virtual global community.
September 11 has many different meanings and there are multiple sources of evidence showing “then is not the same as now”, but I know that right now the world is an unstable place and that it will be the children to whom we leave the job of making it a better place.
Thank you for caring about the world’s children.”
Dr. Marjorie Schiller
(Founder, Positive Change Core)