“I see you and you’re OK and we’re going to be OK.”
On Valentine’s Day of 2011, Landon committed suicide.
Ricky, Landon’s twin brother, happened to be in Paul Richardson’s class the following year where Landon’s name came up over and over again. Paul noticed his absence in the way his students behaved and expressed themselves and he knew he had to do something about it.
This realization would change Paul’s career, life and teaching style. It would inspire him to help his students in a different way than ever before, to help them live from their core.
Before encountering Ricky’s class, Paul quit his job and moved to Florida, telling people he wanted to be a pirate. This was his way of dealing with a world that to him had gone mad and remembering a childhood where he had been on edge, which is what now makes it possible for him to relate so closely to his students, showing them intuitively that he would die for them.
Back in Kansas City, he chose to participate, to go from complacency to consistency and fearlessness.
In this conversation, Paul shares his story of coming from zero and ultimately touching the lives of many children who needed support in a different way than a regular teacher would provide.
He relates how he began his Now Me, New Me project, helping kids to grieve and express themselves in a deeply honest and vulnerable way and ultimately founded KCWordshop, a space for young people to create, hone, and broadcast projects generated by language.
Paul also shares how he holds space for his students no matter what, which ultimately helps him to draw out truths from even the most withdrawn kids. He talks about the future of education and why he believes in giving students more and more choices to help them step into their own future.
Our conversation is a deeply philosophical and spiritual one. It will touch your heart and open your mind to the way we must relate to children and adults alike in this world.
Be sure to listen and if you enjoy the episode, we hope you will share it with your family and friends.