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Posts Tagged ‘community’

Happy September! Maureen has the Spiritual Thursday round up today. Her topic suggestion was “community.” As a new school year gets underway, my thoughts of community turn to my classroom. To build community, we write together. I’ve always felt that writing helps build connections and brings us closer to each other.

When my father died in April, I received so many cards that I couldn’t fit them all on my counter, so I filled a basket. Like Christmas, every day for a few weeks I received handwritten, comforting cards and letters. Without even noticing, I had become a part of a community of people who support each other in good times and in bad times.

This weekend there was an article in the local paper that caught my eye. It was an interview with a teacher I knew. This teacher came to a writing workshop I held one summer. Because we wrote together, I feel close to her. I cut out the article and laminated it to send to her. She probably has multiple copies, but I decided that the gesture was about more than just giving her another copy of the article. It was a gesture of community, recognizing and seeing her.

My writing group is a special community to me. The Inklings got together and created a “junk journal” with each poet writing a special sympathy poem for me. I made a video of this gift that can be viewed here. Linda Mitchell of our group recently shared a new poem with us. She wrote it about the sycamore tree that we planted in memory of my dad on the grounds of their retirement home. “A sycamore tree symbolizes strength, protection, eternity, and divinity.” She gave me permission to share her sweet skinny poem.

Whether writing with each other or writing for each other, writing creates community. If you are interested in joining a small community of writers, tune in on Wednesdays when I post “This Photo Wants to be a Poem.” We write together in separate places about a shared image. There is always room for more.

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Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

As the school year begins and gains speed, the Habit of Community makes me think of the school community and our classroom communities. Ed Bacon’s book 8 Habits of Love ends with this habit. All seven habits (Generosity, Stillness, Truth, Candor, Play, Forgiveness, and Compassion) lead to this final one. He begins the last chapter with the epigraph from John Donne, “No man is an island, entire of itself.”

Class group hug

Class group hug

The Habit of Community lets us know that we are not, in fact, alone. Each of the other Habits of Love ultimately leads to this most critical, life-affirming habit. –Ed Bacon

Life-affirming, that is the reason, the meaning, of community. We are all in this together. Community is designed to help us through the darkness and to celebrate the light. Tragedies put our communities to the test. In most cases, the Habit of Community saves its loved ones from fear and leads them to healing.

I pray that my classroom community will not be tested by tragedy, but everyday there are failures to be reassured and successes to be celebrated. We have a responsibility to encourage a sense of community so that our students feel safe to be who they are. They learn empathy and generosity by our modeling.

True Community encourages everyone to clarify their own values without having to agree with the group. There are few experiences that bring more energy to the soul than belonging to a durable Community without the pressure of having to agree. –Ed Bacon

One thing that stands out to me about the Habit of Community is that we have to open up ourselves to vulnerability in order for others to connect to us. Recently, a friend’s son had his first child. The baby was born early and had some difficulties. He posted daily on Facebook about the progress of his son and his wife’s recovery. I found myself looking for his updates every day, and I know that the support of all of us reading them helped him get through this difficult time. They are all home now and becoming the family they were meant to be. Somehow, though, I feel blessed from having shared in this journey.

We now have so many more ways to connect with our wider community. If we can use the social media to spread the Habits of Love rather than fear, to encourage the life-light in each person, to be there for each other, we can spread the energy of peace and health to the world. We can inspire change. We can be a community.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the community of Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Tuesdays. We are all teachers together on a journey to provide the best for our students. We are a supportive, encouraging, and loving community, and I am proud to be a part.

In what ways will you build community in your classroom? A community of belonging, a community of trust, a community of learning?

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