Sometimes options seem closed to us because others have pre-determined all the points and conditions of accessibility before we even show up. Other opportunities, however, only appear to be locked because of our own fears, inhibitions, and feelings of inadequacy.
The good news is that all these circumstances can be overcome, maybe not easily, but with a commitment to taking charge, learning, and growing, as well as a caring support system it is highly possible.
All of us have felt powerless or incompetent at some point in our lives. I will argue that devoting ourselves to learning about the particular subject, theme, law, or constraint that is holding us back from opening a door offers an immediate sense of empowerment. Positive action, indeed, is far more potent than apathy.
Most Deep Root Center students have recently experienced a slammed, locked, barred, and guarded door; that is why they came to DRC in the first place, and, many don't immediately understand the inherent freedom and responsibility that inhabits the philosophy of self-directed learning, because, until now, it has not been part of their personal experience.
The DRC staff's highest priority those first few months, therefore, is mentoring, advising, and counseling all new student members to take charge of their own education with our encouragement and guidance. They are urged to relax, explore social relationships, and to play. They are also offered multiple opportunities to discover their passions and interests and to talk about their anxieties and inhibitions.
I don't think any of us realize how deeply anxiety affects our youth. They fear things like: being socially ostracized, being bullied, not fitting in, being themselves, being dumb, being alone, violence, drugs, the state of the world, their future, and so on. The list is as endless as it is for every single adult reading this.
I recently started following Elizabeth Gilbert's blog. She is the author of the mega popular hit Eat, Pray, Love. Her posts often touch on the topic of fear and how to acknowledge it without allowing it to drive your actions or inactions, for that matter.
Another follower of her blog had her 5th grade students paint a wooden chair a solid color and then had them each write, with paint, the thing they are most afraid of directly onto the chair. The seat now resides, alone, in the corner of her classroom as a physical, hands-on reminder that we are all in the driver's seat of our lives, fear is not.
This inspiring project is on the agenda for this coming week at Deep Root Center. We, of course, will create it with our unique DRC spin, with the perfect chair which has already been deemed impotent by a cracked seat and a few missing screws, using chalkboard paint for the background and chalk to write all of our worries. This will be a truly current representation of all of our fears, where the concerns can be erased and new ones added as they rise to the forefront of our consciousness.
The next time you visit DRC, you are welcome to acknowledge the “fear” chair sitting in the corner, but then move on to delight in the beehive of affirming activity that our open, unlocked doors and attitudes provoke.
Deep Root Center will be back in session, after this much appreciated Spring Break, Tuesday, March 29th, when we will begin our final ten weeks of this academic year!
We are currently meeting with interested families and are accepting new applications for the 16/17 academic year. If you know of someone who may be interested in learning more about our unique approach to education, please pass our information on. I can envision that we will be at, or very close to full capacity this September.
We will be planning the DRC Summer Workshop schedule very soon. If you have ideas for weeklong themed workshops that you (a friend or acquaintance) would be interested in facilitating please get in touch.