Protecting Our Heritage and Fostering Creativity
UNESCO's best kept secret
I was recently made aware of a UNESCO document known as their "International Charter for Physical Education and Sport". I'm quite sure not a lot of people even know of its existence (and most certainly not within our community). This document contains some of the most beautiful thoughts and ideas on physical education and sport that I have ever come across, and what is more interesting, a lot of them seems to be identical with what we believe is good, beautiful and right with our chosen discipline of parkour/freerunning/ADD.
The problem is that even though this document was created almost 40 years ago, "on the twenty-first day of November 1978", by some very intelligent and caring individuals from around the world, apparently not a lot of people have been paying it much attention...
The document was revised in '92 and has just undergone another revision that will be published in the near future. I don't really believe in fate, but the timing and concurrence of events within our international community made me want to share a few thoughts.
Among many interesting points the preamble of the charter states:
Okay, so that got my attention - albeit 36 years later! I think I can safely say that this is cutting to the essence of what we deal with every day, and what we find are some of the key messages that our chosen discipline seems to be such a perfect vessel for conveying.
I keep reading and after a while I stumble onto something that seems to strike at the very heart of what our international community has been going through for a while:
Pretty spot on, if you ask me...
Of course we all have an interest in our discipline and everything connected to it, and for many of us this interest has naturally evolved into something that allows us to also get paid for our hard work, and thus keep doing it - and just to be absolutely clear: Getting paid for delivering a great service or product that you've poured you're heart and soul into refining, is perfectly fine with me! My own goal is to be able to keep doing this, sure, but only as long as I can keep my soul in it and keep my ethics, moral and values intact. This is an extremely difficult challenge in todays society and something that hardly any of my friends who went to business school seem capable of understanding. But it's not a challenge I personally intend to back down from, and no form of international politics or organizations will change what I do, and the way I work, on a daily basis.
I actually didn't come up with the title of this piece; Protecting Our Heritage and Fostering Creativity is a central UNESCO theme and, again, something that seems to echo the many voices of our community that are battling to be heard right now. For me this title very accurately sums up the one reason I am taking an active stance and putting in work. Nothing else. If politics and some kind of structure will help us all achieve this goal, I am all for it, in spite of all the noise. However, casting a solution from the same old mold is not going to work; why do we believe we'll succeed where pretty much everyone else have failed? We have gotten to where we are now because we do things differently and well - if we turn around now, what's going to set us apart...?
So what am I trying to say? I'm not exactly sure, except that it feels like history has blessed us with a rare and fragile opportunity; an opportunity to make a change from within - not just for ourselves and what we do and love, but for physical education and sport in general. I urge everyone to pay attention. Listen. Communicate. Seek out the knowledge. Protect our heritage. Stay creative and don't copy - especially not the mistakes of others. Let's get to work and get it right!
I truly hope this opportunity will not be wasted...