When I pulled the computer out of the case this morning, I had absolutely nothing concrete to write about except for the usual few vague ideas churning around. I was slammed by inspiration, however, after reading Seth Godin's daily blog, entitled - The Opposite of the Freeloader Problem - which related directly to a recent personal experience. These are the lines that hit me full force: …. These are the people who feed the community first,who give before taking, who figure out how to always give a little more than they take.
What happens to a community filled with freegivers?
Ironically, every member of that community comes out ahead.
His insights, as usual, are spot-on, as indicated by the following story: My ever faithful, previously healthy, 13 year old Corolla, was pronounced dead, after the discovery of a fairly large rusted out hole in the frame (due to heavily salted roads that offer up the final death nell for most vehicles here in the land of ice and snow). Good friends placed their vehicle at our disposal during the hectic week that I needed to return MacKenzie to Hampshire College. Then to our utter amazement, we were offered, not one, but, two cars, for absolutely free, while we were trying to determine how we could possibly negotiate our highly variable schedules with one car.
To add to the multiple layers of compassionate giving in this story, the previous owner of the vehicle we choose, also, offered the studded snow tires, when I visited her to get the DMV papers signed. That was the moment that I fully comprehended what it means to live here, in this amazing North Country, where generosity flows freely to whomever is in need.
When I consider the lessons, beyond the standard subjects, that I would like my students to fully understand, the one that looms above all others, is this: the personal conviction that each of them has something(s) amazing to offer the wider world and that they will do everything in their power to extend it, without hesitation or expectation of reward, on a regular basis.
They will all intuit, on a profound level, that generosity abounds because they are surrounded by good people doing good things. It is modeled for them every single day in our community and by the people (staff and volunteers) who chose to spend their time at Deep Root Center facilitating classes, and helping in any way they can to make DRC available to any student who needs our services.
These enlightening revelations have also led me to think about changing the questions I currently ask during weekly mentoring sessions, from: What are you interested in learning? If you could do anything, what would it be? To: What do you have to offer the world? What can you do to make our community a better place? How can you use your skills and talents to help others?
I have every confidence that they will each be able to answer those questions in meaningful and inspirational ways.
Some of the Seedlings Crew
Our ten week class schedule was fully implemented this past week. Our older students (Saplings) have the opportunity to learn about aquaponics, creative writing, animal behavior, anthropology, classic literature, current events (specifically elections and civics), math, music, and civil rights through a class called, Black History through the Eyes of Sports.
Calling Volunteers We are still looking for volunteers to facilitate classes and offer assistance for hands on projects. If you can help, please follow this link to our on-line volunteer application.