From the Head of School
A note from Dr. Jenny Finn, co-founder of Springhouse Community School
You are song, A wished-for song.
Go through the ear to the center where sky is, where wind, where silent knowing.
Put seeds and cover them. Blades will sprout where you do your work.
Dear Springhouse community,
A Springhouse staff member read this poem to me last week and I wanted to share it with you. In the poem the 13th c. mystic Rumi invites us into the beauty, and also the work, of becoming who we truly are. This journey of living an authentic life is at the heart of the Springhouse mission and vision. We are a place where we invite adolescents to grow up, but we don’t only ask this of our young people, we ask this of ourselves, too. Who we are as adults matters when it comes to raising healthy teenagers and it matters for lots of other reasons. It’s not just about what we know, or where our expertise lies, but who we are that matters deeply. Parker Palmer says it really well in his article The Heart of a Teacher.
We cannot expect young people to be what we are not willing to be ourselves as adults. Decades ago I heard Gandhi's grandson speak to this. He told a story about a time when a family came to seek Gandhi’s help. This family had a child who was addicted to sugar and they didn’t know what to do. Gandhi sent them away and told them to come back in three weeks. When the family returned, they asked Gandhi why he sent them away. He said something like: Before I talk to your child about his sugar consumption, I needed to stop eating sugar myself. At Springhouse, we do not ask our teens to do anything that we have not, or aren’t willing, to do ourselves.
A teen recently said to me, “I feel so lucky to be around adults everyday who are living their lives to the fullest.” Living life to the fullest is not about leading a perfect life. It’s about learning how to befriend ourselves deeply. When I learn to stand with (or even love) myself in my own awkwardness, pain, joy, or whatever the experience is, the more I can stand more solidly with others in their experience. I have found this understanding to be essential when working with, or parenting, a teen. I also know that learning how to befriend oneself is a lifetime process with no point of arrival. There is always something to learn about ourselves and the world around us.
Teens are not the only ones with opportunities to learn at Springhouse. We are truly a community of learners. You can listen here to a podcast where I spoke about the importance of personal development in adulthood and learning opportunities for adults at Springhouse. The most rigorous option we have for adults is a 9-month residency called The Well and we are now receiving applications until May 1st. For more information, please scroll down and read further. We hope to have at least one or two residents with us next fall.Our young people need to experience adults who are committed to leading vital and authentic lives. Thank you for being a part of a healthier culture by committing to your own growth and therefore inspiring our young people to do the same. Wishing you well on the journey, Jenny