Work practice, or care-taking, whether practiced as an individual or a group, provides an immediate experience of seeing a simple, essential task through to completion. For students who are shy, or have not had many academic or social successes to spur on their sense of initiative, this can be a first taste of leadership and one that is supported and validated by the entire community. At times, students have taken responsibility for managing the entire work period. A student can take these experiences a step further and help organize field trips or service learning projects.
Often, new field trips and service projects arise out of student government. Students find the back and forth discussions of student government a surprising and at times frustrating experience. Here, leadership becomes more demanding as students practice advocating for perspectives that are important to them, but also learn to put aside their own opinions to make room for others.
In martial arts class and in the meditation periods, a different kind of leadership emerges. Students step into roles they associate with their teachers. For instance, a student might lead the martial arts class under a teacher’s supervision, or signal the beginning and ending of meditation.
There are opportunities throughout the day for students to find their place and their gifts, and life asks us to lead in many different ways. At The Lotus School, students begin to answer that call.