Wednesday, November 23, 2016

[Not] Me First! : Modelling, Service, and Learning

A relative of mine once told me that life is one long process of learning to forget about yourself. I believe what he meant was that we start out as children with a very me-centric way of thinking and acting. As responsibilities get added through life and others become more dependent on you, it certainly changes your perspective. Ask a first-time parent of a 6 month child how they have been challenged to put themselves second!

With joy I watch the “me first” of our youngest learners transition toward “consider others first” as the stretch of years from JK through grade eight unfold. Our students are given many opportunities to realize the benefit of acknowledging that life isn’t actually all about them. They are given many opportunities to learn to seek out the “feel” of the rich blessing and reward of serving others and to call that “normal.” There is much more going on than simply sweeping up after a SK lunch, collecting stinky compost, or tying skates of younger students. Habits of faith are emerging. I’m convinced these are formative experiences that make lasting impressions about their identity as God’s children, called to love and serve.  

Here is an example: This morning, our Leaders in Training team (LIT), all grade seven and eight students, took ownership of an anti-bullying message that they wanted to share with the all students from JK through eight. They created and acted out real life bus, playground, and classrooms situations that they could role play in front of 15 students, showing the right and wrong way to deal with conflict. Groups rotated around the gym to take in three mini-lessons on relating to peers well. Watching a particular session, I marveled at how serious they took this task and how closely their young audience watched and listened.

 I’m thankful today for student leadership and growth in the lives of our students. May the mindset they are challenged with today shape the way they respond to choices they make in the future – tomorrow, or decades from now. SJ

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