This is the first in a series of interviews with the founders and members of Positive Change Core (PCC) to create a mosaic of relationship, perspectives, and reflections of their experience.
On Friday, February 5, 2020 Patreece Thompson interviewed PCC Founder, Marge Schiller, PhD.
Patreece: What are the images of hope that have evolved since PCC emerged from the ashes of 911?
Marge: It is clearer than ever before that the universal, multicultural image of hope is in children. We see it now in Haiti that what affects and moves us to action is the hope we see in their eyes.
What is remarkable about children is their purity, their deep connection to what is best in us as humans. They show us love, hope, and joy.
Patreece: As you are speaking, I’m remembering the picture of the young Haitian boy pulled out of the rubble left by the earthquake, raising his hands in victory, despite the ordeal he had just gone through.
Marge: Yes, Children ARE victorious…
Patreece: What are some high points for you in PCC creating a culture where the strength of children are uplifted and expanded?
Marge: Positive Change Core is not only focused on the strengths of children. What is fundamental is the emphasis on multigenerational conversations … where “wisdom bridges” connect the generations in an equitable dialogue. That is what is ground-breaking.
Patreece: Are you saying that PCC always had this multigenerational core or was that an evolving perspective?
Marge: We always had that focus. There is the theoretical acceptance of our principle: “don’t do anything about me without me”. But when we actually go to put that into practice, it is often challenging to get children and youth in the room. What is different from when we started is the realization that as much as elders have wisdom to impart to youth, youth has as much wisdom and strengths for elders to flourish in 2010 and beyond.
It is challenging for older people to embrace rapidly changing technology. Then is not the same as now. I’ll be 72 in March … surrounding myself with young people (especially my grandchildren) has given me the opportunity at 72 constantly to consider reinventing myself.
With PCC we started with our first gathering, ‘A LEAP OF FAITH” at Case Western in Cleveland, Ohio. We had young people in the room. Now when PCC sponsors activities, young people must be there at every step. There is a multigenerational imperative.
For example, in talking with a young Brazilian colleague who founded The Butterfly Connection, he expanded the original idea from young leaders to an invitation to multigenerational leaders. So now we are all invited to be part of that initiative.
Young people provide the “predictable disruption” to foster rethinking. We see it in the White House, in world economy. It is no longer enough to build upon the successes of the past – we must stop and question what we are doing, see if it is what we need to be doing now – re-examine our strategies.
Patreece: Finally, building on the best that has occurred already, what is one wish that you have for PCC?
Interestingly this question led into a wide-ranging reflection on how a wish is really focusing on a gap. However, when we focused on posing a similar question to a child, Marge said “a child MIGHT not answer/understand that question. They would want to know what is most fun about the learning.” Once again, Marge redirected the issue to what is simpler yet most important!
Patreece: What about PCC has been the most fun for you?
Marge: The relationships with the maximum mix of people – that is fundamental to PCC.