In continuation to my earlier post on Holistic education. I came across this poignant post and I heartfully share this wonderful initiative and reflections.
ATTENTION ALL TEACHERS AND PARENTS
Every Friday afternoon Chase’s teacher asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit the following week. The children know that these requests may or may not be honored. She also asks the students to nominate one student whom they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are privately submitted to her.
And every single Friday afternoon, after the students go home, Chase’s teacher takes out those slips of paper, places them in front of her and studies them. She looks for patterns.
Who is not getting requested by anyone else?
Who doesn’t even know who to request?
Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?
Who had a million friends last week and none this week?
You see, Chase’s teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” Chase’s teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down- right away- who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.
As a teacher, parent, and lover of all children – I think that this is the most brilliant Love Ninja strategy I have ever encountered. It’s like taking an X-ray of a classroom to see beneath the surface of things and into the hearts of students. It is like mining for gold – the gold being those little ones who need a little help – who need adults to step in and TEACH them how to make friends, how to ask others to play, how to join a group, or how to share their gifts with others. And it’s a bully deterrent because every teacher knows that bullying usually happens outside of her eyeshot – and that often kids being bullied are too intimidated to share. But as she said – the truth comes out on those safe, private, little sheets of paper.
As Chase’s teacher explained this simple, ingenious idea – I stared at her with my mouth hanging open. “How long have you been using this system?” I said.
Ever since Columbine, she said. Every single Friday afternoon since Columbine.
This brilliant woman watched Columbine knowing that ALL VIOLENCE BEGINS WITH DISCONNECTION. All outward violence begins as inner loneliness. She watched that tragedy KNOWING that children who aren’t being noticed will eventually resort to being noticed by any means necessary.
And so she decided to start fighting violence early and often, and with the world within her reach. What Chase’s teacher is doing when she sits in her empty classroom studying those lists written with shaky 11 year old hands – is SAVING LIVES. I am convinced of it. She is saving lives.
And what this mathematician has learned while using this system is something she really already knew: that everything – even love, even belonging – has a pattern to it. And she finds those patterns through those lists – she breaks the codes of disconnection. And then she gets lonely kids the help they need. It’s math to her. It’s MATH.
All is love- even math. Amazing.
Chase’s teacher retires this year – after decades of saving lives. What a way to spend a life: looking for patterns of love and loneliness. Stepping in, every single day- and altering the trajectory of our world.
TEACH ON, WARRIORS. You are the first responders, the front line, the disconnection detectives, and the best and ONLY hope we’ve got for a better world. What you do in those classrooms when no one is watching- it’s our best hope. http://momastery.com/blog/2014/01/30/share-schools/
Sharing this is very poignant piece of writing that I came across. Although it is truly touching it does leave us with a valuable learning on living life…
Do care to read.
ONE BEDROOM FLAT…
Written by an Indian Engineer.
A Bitter Reality
As the dream of most parents I had acquired a degree in Engineering and joined a company based in USA, the land of braves and opportunity. When I arrived in the USA, it was as if a dream had come true.
Here at last I was in the place where I want to be. I decided I would be staying in this country for about Five years in which time I would have earned enough money to settle down in India.
My father was a government employee and after his retirement, the only asset he could acquire was a decent one bedroom flat.
I wanted to do something more than him. I started feeling homesick and lonely as the time passed. I used to call home and speak to my parents every week using cheap international phone cards. Two years passed, two years of Burgers at McDonald’s and pizzas and discos and 2 years watching the foreign exchange rate getting happy whenever the Rupee value went down.
Finally I decided to get married. Told my parents that I have only 10 days of holidays and everything must be done within these 10 days. I got my ticket booked in the cheapest flight. Was jubilant and was actually enjoying hopping for gifts for all my friends back home. If I miss anyone then there will be talks. After reaching home I went through all the photographs of girls and as the time was getting shorter I was forced to select one candidate.
In-laws told me, to my surprise, that I would have to get married in 2-3 days, as I will not get anymore holidays. After the marriage, it was time to return to USA, after giving some money to my parents and telling the neighbours to look after them, we returned to USA.
My wife enjoyed this country for about two months and then she started feeling lonely. The frequency of calling India increased to twice in a week sometimes 3 times a week. Our savings started diminishing.
After two more years we started to have kids. Two lovely kids, a boy and a girl, were gifted to us by the almighty. Every time I spoke to my parents, they asked me to come to India so that they can see their grand-children.
Every year I decide to go to India But part work part monetary conditions prevented it. Years went by and visiting India was a distant dream. Then suddenly one day I got a message that my parents were seriously sick. I tried but I couldn’t get any holidays and thus could not go to India … The next message I got was my parents had passed away and as there was no one to do the last rites the society members had done whatever they could. I was depressed. My parents had passed away without seeing their grand children.
After couple more years passed away, much to my children’s dislike and my wife’s joy we returned to India to settle down. I started to look for a suitable property, but to my dismay my savings were short and the property prices had gone up during all these years. I had to return to the USA…
My children refused to stay in India… So I returned to USA with my family.
Time passed by, my daughter decided to get married to an American and my son was happy living in USA… I decided that had enough and wound-up everything and returned to India… I had just enough money to buy a decent 02 bedroom flat in a well-developed locality.
Now I am 60 years old and the only time I go out of the flat is for the routine visit to the nearby temple. My faithful wife has also left me and gone to the holy abode.
Sometimes I wondered was it worth all this?
My father, even after staying in India,had a house to his name and I too have the same nothing more.
I lost my parents and children for just ONE EXTRA BEDROOM.
Looking out from the window I see my childhood and the beautiful moments that I missed. I get occasional cards from my children asking I am alright. Well at least they remember me.
Now perhaps after I die it will be the neighbours again who will be performing my last rights, God Bless them.
But the question still remains ‘was all this worth it?’
I am still searching for an answer!
IS IT JUST FOR ONE EXTRA BEDROOM???
LIFE IS BEYOND THIS …. .DON’T JUST LEAVE YOUR LIFE ..
LEAD YOUR LIFE HAPPILY WITH YOUR LOVED ONES AROUND.
Enjoy it with your near and dear ones
Money does not make you happy,
love of parents, children and all close to us does.
“So much pressure in today’s world to succeed at all costs, to attain materialistic desires, somewhere loses its way and all seems to go back the start.
Such is the irony of life and living”