Leonard C. Burrello
Executive Director
Dena Cushenberry
​Social Media Manager
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An excerpt from The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life, David Brooks’s newest book, was recently published in The New York Times. Titled “The Moral Peril of Meritocracy,” this essay offers a glimpse of Brook’s larger understanding of how we progress through life. His model is built around the idea that those who truly find joy usually begin by climbing what they believe to be the metaphorical mountain separating them from however they’ve defined success. 
Ultimately, however, Brooks uses this new book to argue that those who truly live joyous lives don’t stop after climbing this “first mountain.” Indeed, they learn that that first mountain wasn’t really what was separating them from joy after all. Thus, they must climb a “second mountain.” 
Below, we’ve distilled Brooks’s characterizations of these two mountains into a clear and easy-to-read chart. As you compare and contrast these two metaphorical models, consider which mountain you believe yourself to be currently scaling. Remember that, if your current climb is not satisfying your desire for a deeper purpose in life, then Brooks believes you might need to recommit yourself to a new and different climb. 
​Those of you who have been following our blog are already aware of our interest in appreciative inquiry, in finding our moral purposes and core values as educators and educational administrators. Ultimately, then, what we are most interested in is collecting what you perceive to be the purposes of public education—and the core values guiding your personal educational philosophies, the expectations your community has of its public school district, etcetera. 
While Brooks’s vision of the world, then, can be of immense value to us as individuals, it can be just as valuable to us as educators. It can help us to understand why we truly want to be teachers and administrators, why we want to live our lives helping children. If you’ve been an educator for years and haven’t yet felt personally fulfilled, then maybe you’re still climbing that first mountain—or maybe it was the wrong mountain to have climbed, and you’re either not in the right district or under the right administration with the right value system. Maybe you’ve become a teacher, but you’ve yet to climb that second mountain to an administrative position, one which would allow you to direct the district’s values, to correct a systemic wrong. 
As educational consultants, we here at The Center for Appreciative Organizing in Education want to help you to find joy and fulfillment in your educational career however we can. If you have anything you want to share with us—from stories of your climb/climbs to your personal beliefs in the purpose of public education to your district’s core purposes and values—email Center Executive Director Leonard Burrello at leonard@aoeducation.net, and we will offer some commentary on your messages to us in future blogs. (You can also contact us at that same address in order to discuss a consultation plan. Read about our consultants here.)