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Breaking the Mold

Throw out all your old cookie cutters and let your imagination loose!


I am sitting on my couch eating a cookie purchased from the local grocery store, and I catch myself pondering, “Why? Why do they make cookie cutters?” Even with using a cutter the cookies never tend to turn out the same; some get stuck in the cutter, some become misshaped on the move to the cookie sheet; others become dark brown, light brown, soft, or crunchy in the cooking process. The answer is simple, mass production! The ones that do not fit get discarded, to be wasted in a world that is so quick to throw things to the wayside.  However, the truth is no matter how much we try they are never exactly the same. In fact, after they are all cooked there is not a single cookie that would fit back in that cookie cutter.

If not a single cookie will fit in the cookie cutter then why do we try to make it? Why do we stereotype and put families, races, parents, teachers, and especially students into a cookie cutter mold to only leave pieces that will not fit? A teacher creates a lesson plan for a typical student in order to pass state regulations, but what happens to the students that think a little differently? The ones that struggle in writing, visual memory, reading, verbal communication, or have been diagnosed with ADHD. They don’t fit the mold and we are in a system to mass produce young intelligent leaders for our country. Left behind, trying to keep up, they are also quickly discarded by many teachers and school systems. The unfortunate thing is that those cookies that don’t fit the mold are often the tastiest just as the students that are so quickly discarded are the ones that are often more creative, persevering, flexible, and resourceful. They are the ones that dare to try something new.

SOAR’s founder, Jonathan Jones, was one that dared. He dared to create an environment that enabled unique students to learn, grow, and succeed at what they do best. Students were not only allowed, but encouraged, to think outside the box and push themselves in an environment where mistakes were seen as an opportunity for growth. They are not asked to fit into a mold, but created an ever changing mold as they passed through what is today The Academy at SOAR. The cookie shapes the mold, not vice versa.

I reject that rigid cookie cutter mold. I am unique as each and every one of us are and accept change and difference, for without the ability to change and adapt we are doomed for extinction. If we are forced to fit in that cookie cutter mold, we will never change and will continuously repeat history. So when you bite into a cookie that is a little too soft, odd shaped, or even cracked remember to embrace these differences. Challenge the path of many before you and don’t be afraid to bushwhack your own.