One of the first and most important lessons DRC student members learn is that we (all of us - staff, students, and volunteers) are allowed to call each other on unacceptable, disrespectful, or inappropriate behavior, by clearly stating, “that is not OK.”
Every kid understands that they have explicit permission, using those four little words, to express their feelings, whether discomfort, unease, sadness, or distress because this straightforward phrase gives us all authority to make an observation without blaming or escalating an interaction. Our kids come to acknowledge, after practicing, that the typical demands of “stop it”, “don’t do that”, or, even, “no”, clearly, do not have the same power as, “that is not OK”.
It works, simply, because, it invites authentic discussion and respectful debate, not vitriolic dissension or, even, retaliation.
I am extremely proud when, “that is not OK”, becomes a child’s or teen’s default response to any disrespectful behavior that they witness at DRC, because it means they are equipped to stand up against injustice, in the wider world, by offering compassion, kindness, ideas, and suggestions instead of whining, judging, or responding (reacting) in anger. And – it indicates that they have learned through direct experience that connecting via sincere dialogue creates an inclusive environment where empathy, openness, and critical thinking are utilized to solve problems.
Photo credits: Alicia and Chase
Water, Woods, & Wild Wonders
The first all day excursion to Clear Pond in the White Hill Wild Forest was a smashing success and everything we dreamed this program would be. Twelve kids headed out Tuesday morning with four adult facilitators – Trish, Chris, Glen (our weekly WW&WW volunteer/intern), and Alicia a regular parent volunteer. They hiked, explored, touched moss, climbed over huge rocks and uprooted trees, held toads, and even waded in the pond. Yes, they were completely immersed – dirty, wet, inspired, totally exhausted, and in awe of the wild wonders of the natural world! Most of them (not just the little ones) fell asleep on the drive back to Canton.
Stay tuned for tales from Martin’s Farm Stand, outside of Potsdam, where they will travel next Tuesday to explore a working vegetable farm.
Deep Root Center is available to any student in St. Lawrence County who is interested in taking charge of their education in our open, supportive, dynamic, and safe learning community. Contact Maria today to schedule an appointment.