From “Me to We”

Today I attended my son’s school’s first annual Harvest Festival.  Roughly 220 students basking in a celebration of ….well, life!  This is Bridges Charter School’s (that’s the school) inaugural year and I found myself standing next to another mom saying, “How many parents get to be in constant awe of their child’s education?”

Today I traveled with my son as he learned about horned owls and Peregrine falcons as these birds were held by their handler, he moved his body to a new beat dancing with his peers, he learned about food portion size and combinations and then filled an empty (and clean) milk carton with a healthy snack.  He helped work in the school garden and then dug tunnels in the dirt while mentoring his first grade “buddy”.  He brought home the start of a home composting project (yes, two worms, dirt and some newspaper in a recycled tennis ball container), helped build a labyrinth and participated in a community meal in which almost every parent contributed something.  Who lead these events?  96% of the volunteers were parents sharing their time and talents mixed with the open and loving teachers and staff of the school and a few community folks who lent their time too!

Why is this important?  Well, we are having a human experience right? Books and classes are great, but the richness of my life, at least, comes from living with passion, family and friends.  I can’t learn how to be a great mom by reading a book and I know my friendships are deep because I’ve learned through experience how to be a good friend (and what happens when I’m not).  I only know how to follow my passion because I have experienced elation and sadness and that experience has taught me what each feels like.

Happiness and joy come from communing with others, being out in nature and having positive experiences.  Books are necessary, but so is time to experience oneself in relationship to the place we live in and with whom we interact?

Education is a hot topic right now and I respect everyone’s right to the kind of education that works for them and their children.  But I have to speak passionately about the suggestion that more hours in a classroom, more homework and more testing are the answers to our children’s needs.  What did my son learn today?  How to take care of the earth, exercise his body, be a friend, share a meal, be a mentor, be a part of a team and experience the transition from “Me to We.”  Wouldn’t the world be a better place if this is what we taught all of our children?

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About Teri Johnson

I have been a life coach and meditation teacher since 1999. More importantly, for me, I have had the pleasure of being a mom for 20 years. But what really defines me is my passion for living an authentic life. I have a friend who calls me "Buddhist with and edge." I'm not a practicing Buddhist, but it sums up my approach to life quite nicely. Thank you for stopping by and ENJOY!
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4 Responses to From “Me to We”

  1. Lori Peters says:

    Teri,
    Thank you being one of those people who “gets it”. You see the big picture, rather than dwelling on the little things that are not happening quite yet. It is parents like you that are making our school a success. Your warm appreciations give us wings, and your support propels us forward. Thank you for being part of our BRIDGES family. We couldn’t have built our school without people like you, or without children like your son who would savor its benefits.
    Love,
    Lori Peters
    Education Team Leader
    BRIDGES Charter School

  2. Leslie P says:

    Thanks for writing about the Harvest Festival. As a proud BRIDGES parent, I am thrilled to be part of a team of such amazing human beings. And this school came together just in time for my daughter to start kindergarten. I feel so fortunate, it’s almost too good to be true.

  3. Kim M. says:

    Thank you, Teri. I completely agree. There were so many positive aspects to the Harvest Festival. I really enjoyed helping at the Green Team center and seeing the children having fun while they were learning. I also love how the parents, staff, and faculty all came together to create something that so perfectly mirrored the Bridges’ vision and mission.

  4. Rose Ann Witt says:

    I reflected this past Thanksgiving weekend on the many blessings in my life, and I found my mind returning again and again to how thankful I am for our BRIDGES School Community. As a founding parent of BRIDGES Charter School, I was as gratified to see so many of our parents so willingly give their time, energy and individual talents to make our inaugural Harvest Festival a successful and fun learning experience for our students as I was moved to hear the comments our students made in appreciation of those efforts. The latter ranged from getting to “see a real, live owl for the first time”, to being happy about “having Daddy spend the day at school with me”, to appreciating “all the hard work our parents did to make this Harvest Festival for us”, to exclaiming that “BRIDGES is the best school in the whole, wide world, the whole, wide galaxy, and the whole, wide universe!” I still get a lump in my throat every time a child expresses thanks for BRIDGES and acknowledges that he or she again looks forward to going to school each morning to a place which, as one little boy shared at the Harvest Festival Circle, “feels like my second home.” Mine too … precisely because our BRIDGES family is focused on enabling all of our students to learn the skills they need not only to be successful in real life, but to positively shape their world. Thank you, Teri, both for so clearly articulating that vision as well as for your many contributions toward making it a reality.

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