Guest Column: ‘Out of the Box’ partners offer 54 events in May

By Don Gillingham
Executive Director, Rockford Lutheran School

When was the last time you really paused to enjoy a good brain teaser? You know, one of those riddles that make you say, “Oh! The horse was named Wednesday!”

The answer was so obvious, and yet you didn’t see it because you have been trained over and over to look at the world a certain way and attack a problem with the same set of resources. For those who are truly paying attention, you understand the game has changed so much that new and innovative approaches to the problems we see all around us must be in place for us to move forward.

Early in the fall of 2012, the leaders of civic organizations and cultural institutions got together and began informal talks about strategies for building a better tomorrow. The discussions focused on new approaches to the obstacles that stand in the way of our success. From these discussions the Out of the Box project began to take shape.

Wednesday, April 24, the grassroots project first came to light, and the words “Out of the Box” have taken on a new meaning. On 23 dates in May, the 33 Out of the Box partners have scheduled 54 events that will encourage people to see the world in a new light. Rockford has always been a place where creativity has been rewarded, and during the month of May, events in schools, community organizations, shopping malls, museums and other community venues will help us to think about the wealth of ideas that exist in our hometown.

You may have heard the phrase, “There is no ‘I’ in team.” The Out of the Box project encourages everyone it touches to say, “I can be part of a team.” We would like each person who reads this column to look at the Out of the Box calendar, which is found at, and see where they can become participants in this community-wide effort to support and encourage new ideas and innovation in our daily lives.

Each of us has experienced the phenomenon of the box on Christmas afternoon. The morning is filled with tearing ribbons and ripping paper and expressions of excitement with each new gadget that comes out of the box. And still in the afternoon, as we relax and reflect, we all have a picture of the young child playing with the box. The creativity that makes an oatmeal container into a rocket ship or allows a refrigerator box to become a fort is truly a cause for celebration.

And so, during this month of May, we encourage you to celebrate creativity, to think out of the box, to join with the members of our hometown to encourage our citizens of all ages to unleash the energy of an idea on the challenges that we face. As you find value in this idea, we urge you to use social media and your personal encounters to lift our community and share the thoughts that make us unique individuals planted in a field of opportunity.

From the April 24-30, 2013, issue

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