Caretaking practice provides an immediate experience of leading a simple, essential task to completion, whether as an individual or a group. Interestingly, for students who are shy, or haven’t had a lot of academic or social success, 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 caretaking period. A student can take these experiences a step farther and help organized field trips or service projects.
Often, new field trips and service projects arise out of student government. Students at times 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, leading the martial arts class under a teacher’s supervision or signaling the beginning and ending of meditation.
There are opportunities throughout the day for students to find their place and their gifts at the Lotus School. Life asks us to lead in many different ways. At Lotus, students begin to answer that call.