by Honor Taft, Head of School
The violent events at the nation’s capitol on Wednesday evening were a shock to all of us. At Friends School we teach our students the importance of being good community members. Our students learn to think critically, to see things from another’s perspective, and to honor different opinions while treating others with kindness and respect, always. In doing this, we teach our students about the meaning and power of democracy, they learn that they can and should take action and seek to make a difference, and to do so with empathy and compassion.
The last year has been challenging for our country and world with a pandemic as well as environmental uncertainties and social unrest. Our concern is for the health and healing of our country, our democracy, and for the wellbeing of our students. Some of our students may have seen the events unfolding on television. Talking about these events and the feelings that they ignite in age-appropriate ways, is important. We will continue to provide a safe place for our students to ask questions and express their concerns, and we will continue to offer comfort and stability in a world that has been increasingly confusing.
We encourage our parents to respond in ways that feel comfortable to you, with your child’s development in mind. Consider providing space for open discourse with your children if they come to you with questions. As adults, we can help process what is seen and heard, correct misinformation, and fill in the gaps with facts while creating safe spaces for conversation. While we may not be able to answer all of their questions, we can approach these conversations with curiosity, listen, and help them process their ideas and questions.
As we navigate these challenging times, I think once again of the strength of the Friends School community and I am filled with gratitude. That our children have the opportunity to to learn and grow as students and as human beings in this kind, caring environment and thoughtful community fills me with hope for what is possible. #FriendsTogether
Head of School
by Friends School mom and local trauma therapist, Lauren Hassan, LCSW
Many thanks to Friends School mom and trauma therapist, Lauren Hassan, LCSW, who met with our staff last week to provide tools and resources to navigate these challenging times. Lauren shares her experience as this week’s guest blogger.
I recently had the pleasure of spending some time with our incredible teachers and staff at Friends School. We addressed what it means to be living in trauma and how to actively and purposefully cultivate resilience. And how to do this while being both present in our bodies and with each other. Our time together was a little bit of everything.
As a trauma therapist, I have been working in a microcosm of this pandemic. Sitting with individuals and feeling the depths of their experience through the unique lens of each life that sits with me on my screen. We dive deep into pain, we connect in vulnerability, we rebound in connecting to resources and resilience, often times we laugh and then we do it again the next week. This work is profound. I am privileged, humbled and honored to be invited into peoples’ worlds in this way.
Yet, there is a part of me that feels connected to something so much bigger as I think of all the shared pain, loss and fear; all who are sacrificing during this time. Each day I take the kids to school and pick them up, I find myself moved by the commitment our community is making. All of us! How can we truly support and show up for this community from within. From our core sense of self, reaching each individual who so passionately commits to our families and our children. I invite you to consider the same. Not just for our Friends School community, but for all communities in your life…family, friends, groups you are a part of, others in need. What could this look like if we all put our whole hearts into loving and showing up for each other?
Resilience. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but when we do this, when we give, even if we feel we have nothing to give, we expand our capacity to cultivate resilience. And with that, I leave this letter here for our incredible teachers and staff.
Dear teachers and all staff… all who work tirelessly to keep our school running,
You continue to show up in ways that you did not choose or necessarily sign up for. What you are enduring now, was likely far from your radar when you chose to engage in this line of work. You are being asked to establish safety for our community and our children and in that, to monitor behavior and circumstances that require hypervigilance every single day. Your roles have been renegotiated. How you connect and work as a team has been redefined. How you adapt is requiring intense flexibility and rigidity all at once. You are not only having to work with your own emotional needs and livelihoods, but you are supporting our children in theirs and identifying how to relate to and work with parents who likely all have a unique reaction to how everything is being handled. All while still teaching…still educating our children in their whole sense of self.
Oh and let’s please not forget, you all were heroes before this pandemic entered our lives. Committing to our children and our families through incredible skill, knowledge, collaboration, and empathic care. I said this when I first invited you to join me – you are warriors. Warriors who will forever be imprinted in the maps of our lives and in the narrative of our stories. We are forever grateful.
With all my love,
Learn more about Lauren and her work at laurenhassan.com.Read More
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