This week I sat with my Team Leads in my school.  We discussed the fragilities, the places we can see trauma, the frustration, and the children struggling on their journey to grow up.  

Also, this week, I met with parents.  Their emails uncovered communications and concerns.  I heard the stories indicating the September honeymoon shimmer was wearing off.  

What I know for sure, is that growing up children is a process fraught with landmines of all shapes and sizes.  The difficulties, wild emotions, and even heartbreaks are often unavoidable because children are still immature and learning so much! 

This is when I know, we are better together, in a village.  

We are here to serve.

Learn Forward intentionally brings parents and educators together for the sake of children.  Nurturing and educating children is our purpose. And, we ARE better together! 

Here are some ideas for our village, either in our digital community or in schools:

Let’s be inclusive!  

What does inclusive mean?  It means that our school is a village and reflects our community by welcoming students of all backgrounds, shapes, and sizes.  Our ‘welcome’ creates a diverse student population and we value the differences in ability, socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, creed, and gender norms. 

We value diversity because it makes us better!  In this context, our children learn about cultivating community, belonging, and empathy.  They become adept communicators and keen citizens. These competencies emerge because we foster them amidst our student body in authentic ways.

We include every child because we want our child included.  In fact, I’m so inclusive that when I went to East Africa, I couldn’t leave those children behind either!  Thus, Niteo was born.

Let’s practice healthy communication.

I want us to stay focused on solving problems.  It’s hard; I know.  I get frustrated too (possibly more than most).  But, most often, I sleep on it, try to get clarity, and try to communicate in healthy ways.  

Also, let’s stay positive.  Too often our schools are filled with venom and toxicity.  It does NOT serve our children. What we need are members of our community to stay thoughtful and communicate in healthy ways, with optimism about everyone’s intentions.  It’s grace.

Recently, I read What Do You Do with a Problem by Kobi Yamada to our students in a school-wide assembly.  Yamada, through gorgeous illustration and prose, encourages children to see the possibility and opportunity in the dark cloud of the problem.  What are the opportunities in the cloud over your head? 

I wonder if we could learn lessons from this mindset? It’s a Learn Forward approach!

Let’s flavour our community with Grace.

Finally, let’s flavour our village with the Grace we all need as humans.  The most important thing my Pastor has ever taught me about humans is to “believe the best about each other.”  He taught me this heart of grace. Often, I lean on him to help me understand humanity, frame things empathetically and cultivate believing the best about others.  This is Grace, regardless of religion or faith, it is a true lesson about life.

In our village, we can help each other with that process.  Just like my Pastor encourages me, I can encourage others. I can bring a gracious framing to conversations.  If I don’t right away, I can the next day or at the next opportunity. I can weave it into our Table of Learning conversations.  Recently, a parent even wrote me a note, “Thank you for helping me to remember the importance of ‘grace.’” Isn’t that the most important learning?

Of course, this is all for the sake of the children.

With love,

Karine