During the admissions season, I am always inspired by the many beautifully written applications we receive from parents whose interest in All Saints stems from a desire for their children to have every opportunity for future success and happiness. A common theme running through these parent statements is the search for a community that will provide their children with a sense of balance and purpose in life. “I want my children to be successful,” many parents express, “but we also want them to be happy in life, and to give back to their community.” It struck me that in spite of this being a goal of most parents everywhere – the desire to raise happy, well-adjusted children – so few schools carve out time to intentionally nurture and develop this aspect of a student’s education. At All Saints, our spirituality program is designed to help students develop a keen sense of self-awareness so that they can pave a path that leads to these outcomes – academic (and later professional) success, along with a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives. We want students to connect with their passions and to build lives in which they understand the role they play in our larger world.
There are many ways in which students engage in personal study and reflection on these affective aspects of life, each and every day at All Saints. This aspect of our curriculum, which begins in Nursery, culminates in a spiritual autobiography that students write in their Eighth Grade Rites of Passage class. This project challenges students to consider the ways in which the school’s mission statement has impacted their lives. For the part of the mission that speaks about “the discipline and integrity to be successful in school and life,” students spend time reflecting about what “success” truly means. While each student has their own ideas about what success means for them personally, three common elements have emerged in the class: 1) tuning into our inner-ourselves, 2) utilizing our gifts or talents to benefit the world, and 3) embracing the love and support of others. Students then took these ideas and created their own “recipes” for success, and one student, Lulu, granted permission for hers to be shared here:
Recipe for Success
For One Person (or more)
This recipe will help you get through the day and help you conquer any test or exam.
• 1 family full of support and love • 1 brain filled to the top with appreciation for education • 1 peaceful mind guarded from worry • 1 hopeful, loving, and determined heart • A handful of talents • 1 quart of self acceptance • 2 pints of respect • 1(or more) body full of motivation • A big understanding of a bright future • 1 spoonful of benevolence
1. Once you have gathered all of your ingredients, stir in a large bowl. It does not matter the order of ingredients. 2. Next, roll out the cookie-dough like substance. 3. After, cut with cookie cutters (your favorite or brain-shaped). 4. Then put on a baking pan and put in the oven at 350 degrees. 5. After ten minutes take out and let them cool for ten minutes. 6. Then decorate with frosting and/or sprinkles. 7. Then call a friend of family member and ask them to come join you for cookies. 8. Soon you will feel energized and full of spirit. 9. Share with friends so you can spread your motivation and secrets to help others.
Each day I am inspired by the profound ideas and words shared by our students. I can’t help but wonder how the preparation they are receiving is going to impact the choices and decisions they make in life, and it warms my heart to think of the many ways in which we, and the larger world, will benefit, too. Perhaps it would be a worthwhile exercise for each and every one of us to take some time to think about our own “Recipe for Success,” making sure we include all of the ingredients that combine to create purposeful, meaningful lives.
Questions? Thoughts? Ideas? I’d love to hear them! Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org