Parker Palmer is well known for his wisdom, compassion and compelling presence and well loved as a man who is authentic, vulnerable, perceptive, honest and heart-achingly funny. He is admired for his courage to live a life congruent with the ideas and principles he writes and talks about. He inspires us to do the same.
Honor Parker on his birthday with your gift and help his wisdom reach more people who need it.
– Terry Chadsey, Executive Director
Join us online for a Facebook Party in honor of our founder’s birthday. It’s a chance to say “Happy Birthday” and let him know how he has inspired your life and work this past year.
The Center for Courage & Renewal puts wheels on Parker Palmer’s ideas.
Parker as a young boy riding his tricycle.
February 28 marks the birthday of Parker J. Palmer, senior partner and founder of the Center for Courage & Renewal. We recently asked him about the place of “Courage work” in his life and his hopes for his legacy. He replied:
I’m at an age where people have begun to ask me what I want my legacy to be. I always say, “It’s not my legacy—it’s ours.” It’s a shared legacy created by the folks who design and offer Courage & Renewal programs and the folks who participate in them.
As a writer, I’ve always wanted to “put wheels” on my ideas so people can make use of them. For the past twenty years, I’ve partnered with the Center for Courage & Renewal to do exactly that. Together we’ve created vehicles for people to ride those ideas toward life-giving destinations—inner as well as outer destinations. Our programs have allowed many people in many walks of life to develop visions and take actions that make our world a better place.
I’ve always believed that the Center’s success should be measured by its ability to attract competent, committed, caring people who are doing work that serves the human possibility. That’s exactly the kind of people we’ve attracted. So by my lights, we’ve succeeded!
And what about my writing? In my office, there are two bookcases with three shelves each. They are packed to the max with books I’ve written in various editions and translations; books for which I’ve written forewords or chapters; and periodicals for which I’ve written articles. That’s a lot of words! But for me, those words—sitting there inert on the page and shelf—are not the legacy.
A legacy is a living thing. What’s important to me is the way people have taken my words into their own lives in their own way—and then carried all of that into communities, institutions and the larger society. Without the deep, long-term partnership I’ve had with the Center for Courage & Renewal, none of that would have happened on the scale it has. I’m forever grateful for this gift of colleagues, friends and fellow travelers.
My personal legacy? I’d like it to be one of good humor, good will and generosity. I’d like it to be said that we had a lot of laughs, we extended a lot of kindness, and we built an abundant storehouse of heart-and-soul resources that anyone can draw on. I can’t imagine a better legacy than that.
Parker J. Palmer