Ocean waves.  They swell, roll in, and crash.. recede.  Some big, some small. The conditions of the environment wreak havoc on the waves.

Learning comes in waves. You get in the flow, ideas coming, things working… then it recedes. Sometimes the wave fizzles and the thing just doesn’t come to fruition. Sometimes, you ride the wave, all the way, and it’s the best feeling in the world.  Success.  But the truth is, we’d never have the flow without the ebb.

So much of the work that happens in classrooms around the world is more of a faucet.  A steady, over controlled stream.  No ebb, no flow, just a stream.   We try to turn it on, turn if off. Stop. Start. Measure.  That squelches all the great things that the ebb and flow teach us. Riding waves requires resilience, persistence, courage, collaboration, risk-taking, adapting… and so much more.  Things that can’t be replicated in a predictable faucet stream. Things that will always rely on ebb and flow to take shape.

The more I read about creativity and design and what making is about, the more I experience, the more I appreciate the ebb and flow. We know we can’t control the ocean, but we sometimes think we can control learning.  We reduce it to a thing and it loses it’s glorious messy process.  An ocean without waves? It would lose it’s magic. Ebb and flow magic.