Meaningful Work Right from the Beginning

As we begin our 2nd week of school, plenty of things stand out.

  1. The maturity, closeness, and genuine joyful attitude of our kids.
  2. Our kids’ ability to respect themselves, one another, and the opportunity they are being given.
  3. Just how lucky we are and what an impact it is making.

All three of these came blaring across in the last six days as we revisited one of the things that we repeat. We always begin our year teaching about our values.

Respect, honesty, leadership, initiative, gratitude, integrity, collaboration, responsibility, courage, kindness, creativity, innovation, resiliency, and problem solving.

What changed is that this year, we asked our veteran Indi-ED students to step up to actually teach those lessons instead of the teachers. But we had no idea what we were in for.

We knew that we had been teaching our kids about these values for quite some time and that they were capable of taking a stage and teaching. But we had no idea how profound the lessons would be.

We watched two young men who just the year prior were terrified to take a stage, stand with confidence in front of a group with well thought out lessons that included deep definitions of courage and responsibility. We watched them incorporate definitions, analogies, TED talks, games, real life connections, humor, and activities that engaged their peers in a way that we couldn’t have even thought of.

We watched two of our oldest students teach a lesson about leadership that literally brought me to tears. The way with which they spoke about what it means to lead with grace and authenticity was pure magic. To reference their lesson and this TED talk they shared, it was a lollipop moment for me.

We had kids teach us about methods that they use to bring about gratitude and share kindness in their lives.

We had kids share vulnerable moments with confidence in front of a group.

We had kids discuss respect in a way that took into consideration global perspectives like culture, race, and religion.

We had kids design creative and engaging lessons that communicated so far beyond just the surface layer of understanding of what it means to be a quality human, that it 100% reinforced what we are doing.

They weren’t pressured into doing it. They worked on their lessons and collaborated over the summer. They were prepared ahead of time. They put time and care into these lessons and they were focusing on what’s important in life. That is our definition of meaningful work.

These kids are secure in who they are. They are comfortable speaking their truths. They understand their influence. They are incredible and they make us proud.

We still have the rest of this week to finish out our values lessons in addition to next week as our kids took it upon themselves to suggest new values that they wanted to add this year like authenticity, vulnerability, and adaptability. (Reminder: none of our kids are over the age of 16!!!)

Thank you to our teachers for providing the space for these types of lessons to unfold and to our parents who reinforce and emulate all of our values right alongside us. How lucky we all are.

We’ll share about the content and our experiences soon enough. But for now, we need to simply acknowledge how beautiful our kids are.

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