Over the years, John and I have shared many meals and drinks together. Perhaps this is why we use the model of “polite dinner guests” as the standard for potential Crossroads participants. Invited people should be able to listen attentively and engage constructively. Representing diverse backgrounds and perspectives, they’re the kind of people that you hate to see go, and those whom you’d like to host at your table again. They are willing to sample new appetizers and enthusiastically clear the dishes at the opportune time.
Your own experience at Crossroads is a powerful resource for detecting and inviting additional guests to the table.* You can help us to enrich the pool of participants with even more witty, creative, driven, critical, and generous individuals. Think about who might be a good person to welcome and have sitting across from you at this table. Ideally they would have a background that would complement the dinner party — a new scholar in science education, a teacher emboldened to take students to a National Park, an artist working to sketch collaborations with a science classroom, perhaps an engineering educator building a bridge to help us with NGSS, etc. But they would also be ready to articulate a personally professional challenge and equally receptive to input. The ideal dinner guest listens attentively and contributes thoughtfully, more enchanted by the ideas of others than by the sound of their own voice.
Give it some thought, but don’t rush this identification process. Allow time for it to marinate (or perhaps ferment), because finding great Crossroads people should not be done in haste. In truth, the very best candidates are those who may not actively be seeking an invitation, though they often understand the objective quite clearly. Should you uncover someone who might be good to add to the mix, let them know that this year’s Crossroads will be held in Cleveland on October 1-3, 2015, and proposals are due by May 16. (And I suppose we just let you, dear reader and subscriber, know this information as well.) If you and others can help bring guests to the table, we will do our part to make sure to have the other ingredients and the ideal chef on hand.
*There is a long-standing tradition of us inviting great people to Crossroads, and this has led some to believe that the only way to gain entry is by receiving a golden ticket from John or Adam. Not only is this not true, there’s no way it could be sustained. The point of inviting people is to help identify and encourage those who will understand Crossroads and its purpose. Because the meeting is so hard to explain sometimes, it’s best represented by a previous attendee’s testimonial. That’s why we’re calling on you.