What a summer we’ve experienced at Walden International. In so many ways we have transformed the environment to which our students will return. There is fresh paint on the walls. New classrooms and offices have been created. And, our school has been rejuvenated to welcome back students eager to experience all that a forward-looking school offers.
There’s one thing though that hasn’t changed and never will - our powerful intention to make good people.
A New School Year
Beginning any new endeavour - and you must count a new school year as one of the more momentous for youngsters - requires a clear vision and diligent intent to see your objectives realized. This is challenging for even the most experienced of us so imagine for a moment the challenge that this represents for a seven-year old mind.
That’s part of the reason we’re so focused on the whole person at Walden. It’s part of the reason we devote time and effort to introducing our students and staff to the benefits of becoming self aware. By stopping regularly to look inward and becoming aware of your mental state you stay connected to the source of your actions and thoughts. This then allows us to guide our thoughts and actions with considerably more intention.
You may be familiar with the father of modern-day mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn. He is largely responsible for the incredible growth of the global mindful movement and we have incorporated much of his philosophy into the Walden world.
Kabat-Zinn writes, “Too much of the education system orients students toward becoming better thinkers, but there is almost no focus on our capacity to pay attention and cultivate awareness.”
Now, don’t imagine for a moment that we don’t encourage our students to become curiosity-driven thinkers or that our approach to learning isn’t inspired by challenging the minds of these young people.
Noticing The Small Moments
No. Where we separate ourselves is by ensuring that each student takes time every day to pay close attention to even little, seemingly meaningless moments. Those moments when you notice a lone flower blooming in arid ground. Moments when you hear the buzz of a late-summer cicada coming through the classroom window. Moments when you feel what the successful completion of a math problem brings to your soul. Moments when you really notice the crunch, taste and noise of a crispy lunch-time carrot.
By increasing our awareness of the little things in life we become more able to consider the larger issues we confront with perspective. We become more resilient by being able to bring that perspective to bear and moderate our reaction to the barrage of stimuli we face every day.
Watching the learning journey of any child is a wondrous thing. Observing the aware youngster who approaches learning with intention is almost magical.
And, when you really boil it down, here’s what we know to be true. The really good people in our lives are those who acknowledge the present moment and revel in the small accomplishments that we so often overlook.
Making good people. It is our intention. It is our purpose. It is our joy.