Listening to the voices of our Sion students from around the world is a humbling experience. What stands out for me are their thoughts around what brings them hope. Most have identified the importance of belonging to a school family beyond their own family; the importance of relationships with their peers, teachers and families; the importance of social justice opportunities and how bringing hope to others also brings them hope - that their actions can lead to positive change.
In particular, today I reflect on two comments and the questions they raise for me:
- The young student from Worthing who feels a sense of hope when her teachers and friends 'notice her' is a timely reminder of the human need for connection and affirmation. Our existence is affirmed by the acknowledgement that we actually exist. What a tragedy it would be when no-one does this. In our various roles as staff in a Sion school, how do we ensure that we affirm the existence of each of our students and of each other?
- The second comment that resonates with me is from the student from Higienopolis who says that he appreciates the 'dear teachers who taught us how to be human'. What does it mean to be 'human' and how do we educate our young people to appreciate what it is to be fully human? His statement takes me to Dolene's explanation of 'esperance', the hope that is beyond the hope for material things.
I thank our young people for sharing their deepest yearnings with us and for prompting these questions which I look forward to reflecting upon in the coming months.
I too love the line about 'the teachers who taught us to be human.'
What are our students telling us?
Well, they're telling me how much they care about others!
I had a student write to me the other day, sharing her pain about the suffering in Afghanistan.
She spoke about using your voice for others who can't use theirs. She described hope (and love) as being the most human emotions of all.
That's what one of our students is telling us!!