SF Waldorf High Kindness!
Posted by Anne Veh on Sep 17, 2018
Here's some photos from the day, as well as some touching reflections from some of our Kindness Team volunteers!
Pancho, Liz, Helen, and Dustin arrived early in the morning to meditate a full hour before we even began! Beforehand, Helen baked some delicious treats to share, and everyone came with flowers, and gifts to use for our kindness activities.
At 8:30AM, we began, with some sweet stories from Dustin and Ana (who came all the way from the Philippines)! Then we broke into pairs to reflect on a moment of kindness we've experienced in our lives, followed by a circle of sharing on what our partners spoke about!
By this time, we'd done quite a bit of sharing, so our movement expert Ana led us in an energizing activity and Andy brought the energy inward with a mindful seeing exercise. Dustin noted, "It was amazing witnessing the bravery of students looking at me straight in the eyes for so long [during a 'mindful seeing' activity that Andy facilitated]. Most adults I know couldn’t even do that. Although they might not realize it now, I think they all planted seeds to be kind, compassionate adults in the future and I’m so glad to have been part of that planting process."
After all the rich stories and reflections, we then rolled up our sleeves to engage small acts of kindness ourselves! First off, since it's the start of the school year, all the seniors gifted a flower to lower-classmen students and teachers. :) As they returned, the enthusiasm was bubbling across the room, and the students swiftly took off, eagerly going out into the streets to do random acts of kindness -- from gifting flowers; to sharing 'miles of smiles' and 'free hugs' (with signs painted by Helen's daughter, Ellie!); to sweeping and picking up litter on the streets!
We then concluded the day with reflections, where each student wrote a letter to themselves, to set an intention for the school year ahead. Then, everyone went outdoors to plant a fruit tree -- a metaphoric way to close for all the seeds of goodness that had been planted throughout the day -- and the Humanities and Music Program Coordinator, David Weber, led us all to close with a song.
After the tree was joyously in the soil and watered, we joined the class for a generous lunch -- and engaged some touching small group conversations. Joan and David noted how the students have a requirement to fulfill certain community service hours. "How do we make service something they naturally want to do, rather than a requirement to check off for graduation, or for the college resume?" Through that conversation, bunch of us stayed for a post-lunch session on 'what service means to me' and 'what motivates me to serve' - and learned about the incredible community service experiences (from farming to teaching youth how to code and beyond) that so many students have volunteered with outside of school!
As our kindness team got ready to depart, we shared our own learnings and inspiration from the day -- and all of us agreed: the youth have so much to teach us!
Liz recalled, "Although the energy from several of the boys was a bit rambunctious, I noticed how they began participating more deeply in the exercises as the day went by. The kindness seeds towards themselves and others were germinating in front of our eyes. I am most grateful for Waldorf Teachers, Joan Caldera and Mr. Weber's energy, and commitment to support these transformative spaces. Their hearts are in the right place as they want the young adults to understand what truly means to be “of service” instead of “volunteering to meet the guidelines” - wonderful experience."
We all felt what Helen remarked:
"I feel blessed to be in company of many kind hearts and souls at work that led to this full day of beautiful scenes and transformations. While the kinds of transformations may differ for the students and adults in presence, the seeds have been planted. I trust that they will blossom and ripen at various times." "It was so great to hear the students saying thank you as we were leaving. The male student who sat next to me at the end circle even tried having a conversation about surfing with me. You know it’s gone well when older teenagers want to be kind, nice, and engaging with the adults!"