Thursday, May 23, 2013

celebration of the child...

Today at the Clear Spring School we held our annual Celebration of the Child, which is our closing school program. The kids do skits, and the teachers present certificates of achievement that acknowledge special qualities of character that the children have worked on and express that bring benefit to their classmates. It is a thoroughly heart-felt celebration. Awards were given for curiosity, for listening, for compassion and teamwork. The long list of valuable character traits is just as important as anything else we could recognize in education.

At the close of the program, the high school students performed the Pete Seeger song, Little Boxes, on the guitars they had made in wood shop. They held up a sign thanking me for helping them to make their guitars. But for me it was thanks enough hearing them played. A tool is not complete until it is put to use in learning. An instrument must play music, and so to hear them perform on the instruments we'd spent so many weeks to make was like graduation day for me.  I don't know how many have the opportunity to feel what I felt today. Various parents offered to send photos. So perhaps I'll post one later in the day.

On Sunday, my cousin Anne's grandson Gabe passed away following a very long illness. That night I dreamed about my uncle Newt, Anne's father who had died over 10 years ago. Newt was standing behind my brother in law, Mike, as some of us took turns asking, "Has anyone seen Uncle Newt?" Mike looking forward kept saying, "No, I haven't seen him." Uncle Newt smiled in delight.

And so it is. There is no coming or going in life when it is understood that all things are interconnected and thoroughly bound together as one. Teachers learn that when they step aside in awe of their students' growth. We each become our own versions of my uncle Newt.

Make, fix and create...

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