A year ago in January, we seriously began to plan and research starting a school. When I look back at who I was a year ago, I would whisper to that woman, “You are so much stronger, more flexible, and braver than you even realize.”
Thrive was born out of a dream to create reform in our education system. Thrive embodies many years of teaching and seeing the brokenness and high stakes test driven environment that doesn’t serve students. I was finding myself worn out, exhausted, and frustrated with a system that discouraged the things that kids need most: play, free choice, social/emotional learning, student expression, diverse exposure, and so much more.
This year has been full of fantastic moments and extremely hard moments. While the incredible moments have felt the best, the most growth has come from the extremely hard moments. As I reflect on this, I realize that I was capable of wading through those hard moments because I was allowed moments of reprieve and “play” to rejuvenate and prepare for more work. This is the same respect that we offer to kids at Thrive. There may be hard tasks that grow your brain, but there is a pause to rest and recoup.
Looking back at the tasks that brought me to tears of frustration, I can empathize with the students we serve who say, “this doesn’t make sense” or “I don’t know what to do next” or “can you just do this for me.” The easy way out is just that: easy. However, the learning that takes place in the “easy” way out isn’t nearly as rich and deep as wading through the task yourself. However, there are things that need to be in place for this deep wading to take place.
I needed to know I was safe. I needed to know I was surrounded by people who cared for me and were my biggest cheerleaders when things got hard. I needed to know I could fail and it would be okay. I needed to know that if I messed up, the worst that would happen is needing to admit the error and ask for help to fix it. SCHOOLS OWE THAT SAME GRACE AND SPACE TO KIDS. Kids cannot wade into deep and hard tasks unless they know they are safe, accepted, able to make mistakes, and able to fail.
We strive to create a space where kids know they can take up space, ask big questions, make mistakes, fail miserably, ask for help, and learn to build confidence in who they are!
For myself, I have learned to take up space, dive into hard things, and emerge scratched but oh so much stronger. We can do hard things. It is in those hard moments that we learn who we really are.