A Year End Message from Aaron Stern: Reflections on 2020

Academy Founder and President Aaron Stern invites you to reflect, make meaning, and imagine possibilities for the future with us.

Dear Friends,

As 2020 comes to a close, having brought us… all that it has brought…we see in the prospect of 2021 possible glimpses of hope and light – a bit distant and uncertain still – but most assuredly, beckoning. Almost as mysteriously as 2020 began, with the arrival of a pandemic and all that followed, it is coming to an end, leaving an indelible mark upon nearly all of us and perhaps all of civilization. And, still, we don’t really know what is ahead.

Rather than the traditional end of the year letter that reflects upon the Academy’s accomplishments for the year and looks forward to the next, I had a different idea for this year’s annual letter. Instead, I invited Academy staff and colleagues to share personal reflections that communicate some of what this year has been for them individually and what they aspire to bring from 2020 into the future. To accomplish this, I offered evocative prompts for reflection and response.

These are the prompts that I invited the Academy staff and colleagues to consider, and now invite you to consider as well, as you reflect upon 2020 and look into the year ahead:

Reflecting back on 2020, what has touched you deeply and opened in you; come into the foreground in your hearts and minds that you could see as intentions for what you bring forward into life ahead as a “new normal” emerges?

Maybe a word; a few words; a phrase; a sentence; a few sentences; a poetic phrase; a haiku; an image; something of you – a reminder to yourself and others, something that you intend Not to Forget as we together step into the emerging times of what will become the “new normal” ahead…?

Imagine… a “new normal” with what is most precious and essential to us in the foreground – that which we take forward from these times of this Great Disorientation? What have become the Hidden Gifts?

What follows are the responses from those staff and colleagues who chose to share. We also invite you to share back with us your own reflections, which, with your permission, we will curate and share back with the community receiving this letter. Our hope is that through this exchange, we can recognize some of our own experiences in those of others, find solidarity, and be fortified.

In the spirit of Learning from all of us at the Academy for the Love of Learning,

Aaron Stern
Founder and President
Academy for the Love of Learning


Share your 2020 reflections


Academy Reflections 1


Academy Reflections 2


Academy Reflections 3


Academy Reflections 4


Academy Reflections 5