Challenging Ourselves and Each Other
The school meeting this week explored the theme of challenges and how important they are to all of us. When we summon the courage to challenge our peers and ourselves, we ignite a powerful tool of higher expectations along with a commitment to hold others and ourselves to our best.
The start of the meeting had several students and faculty share times in their lives when someone challenged them. A senior talked about her resistance to challenge in her first year, "Last year, I acted like I didn't want to hear what anyone had to say. There were people who did challenge me and eventually, I let go of my stubbornness and let them help me." A faculty member talked about a challenge her teammates in college gave her about her attitude and commitment to the team. We also discussed what prevents us from challenging those around us. Some of the barriers include:
- They will not accept it, and be angry
- What if I am not right
- I don't want to get involved
- Fear of conflict
We also shared what happens when we challenge others with commitment and concern:
- We get a stronger connection with that person
- We have to address that issue within ourselves
- We gain confidence to help others
- There is learning that happens
Each student and faculty member then wrote two specific challenges for someone in the community or for themselves. These were written anonymously and put into a basket. Someone then read the challenge, and folks were asked to stand if this challenge resonated with them. Finally, the author of the challenge was asked to bring it to the original person or accept it for themselves. Every challenge that was read had a multiple of people standing, which showed us all the universal nature of things we need to work on to be our best selves.
I challenge you to be more open.
I challenge you to say no.
I challenge you to listen more.
I challenge you to be a person of integrity.
I challenge you to hold others to the standards you hold yourself to.
I challenge you to be a leader with both feet in.
I challenge you to speak up more and share yourself with others.
I challenge you to believe in yourself, and let people see who you really are.
I challenge you to think before you act and speak.
These challenges and others were pulled out of the basket, and comments were made by students and faculty about how they felt about these challenges and themes in their life. The meeting was another important one for our community as we work this winter to strengthen our synergy with each other, and lean into the challenges of winter weather. We ended the meeting by asking anyone to stand and challenge themselves in front of the group. It was another example of the depth of our students and faculty.
"I challenge myself to be the leader I know I can be on my team and in this school."
"I challenge myself to accept the challenges I was given today."
"I challenge myself to not just be critical but also to be positive."
Great school meeting and another step in building our community!
Laura D. Gauld '76
President & Head of School