Walk, Run, Fly

October 7, 2013

Every school year has its own character which firms up very quickly. It’s important to spend time at the beginning of the year  highlighting each student’s responsibility and power in our community.

We did just this at the first three Monday assemblies.  There’s nothing new or earth-shattering in what we discussed. It’s simply an expansion of this core Gould value:  “At the heart of any Gould endeavor are the energy to try, the willingness to risk, and the capacity to persevere.” See Gould’s mission and core values here

Over the three Mondays, we progressed from how to walk, to how to run, then how to fly. Here’s a synopsis.

First Monday: How to Walk.

Make sure that you are…

  • On-time. Show up on time. Turn your work in on time.
  • Accountable. Fulfill your promises. Own it if you did it. Clean up what you mess up. Right your wrongs.
  • Kind.  Look people in the eye and ask them how they are. Seek opportunities for random acts of kindness, make it a habit.

Make sure that you don’t…

  • Lie. You’ll become known for it.
  • Cheat. If you’re feeling pressure, seek help from an adult but do not cheat.  We will help you.
  • Steal. Perhaps the most insidious behavior in any community.
  • Physically hurt anyone. We won’t put up with it.
  • Consume drugs or alcohol. You can’t learn and be your best self if you’re doing this. You get only one wrong decision here. 

Second Monday: How to Run.

  • Build Bridges and Seek Understanding. Get outside of your own head and assumptions. Ask questions and listen. Start something and lead it. Play a role in the success of others.
  • Plan and set goals. The time in your life is too valuable to waste. Learn how to manage your time; seek help in figuring out systems that work for you. Consult with others on your plans and goals. Limit yourself to 2 or 3 big goals.
  • Make something. Take an idea from beginning to end. Accept struggle as a natural and necessary condition. Risk, fail, and regroup; be a friend of failure. Here’s a sampling of the ways you can create at Gould: writing, athletics, drawing and painting, ceramics, computer programming, blacksmithing, 3D design and printing, photography, global engagement, video and film, entrepreneurship, science, community service, theater, robotics, environmental and outdoor skills.

Third Monday: How to Fly.

  • Accept yourself and forgive others. It’s a great waste of energy to agonize over your own or others’ shortcomings. Stay focused on your bridges, goals, and what you’re making.
  • Work harder than you thought you could. Hang in there a few minutes more. Spend time with people who push you and make you better.
  • Exercise your moral imagination. Start by accepting your responsibility to those around you. Imagine you making the world a better a place. Imagine your community as you’d like to see it and ask “What if I…?” not “What if they…?”.

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