Posts Tagged ‘Compassion’

Small VT School Uses Debriefs to Foster Classroom Wellbeing


Article on Bullying and Communication

Thanks to Laura Jean Whitcomb, publisher of Kid Stuff for letting us reprint this article about a ground-breaking move by a small school in central Vermont,  The Willow School. One look at the their website almost has me rethinking our departure for New Zealand this fall, and instead,  having our young son attend the school!

Outward Bound mandatory for all young people?

Like legendary Headmaster Dave Fowler at  Proctor Academy in Andover, NH where he pioneered incorporating Outward Bound principles of experiential education and community building into the school’s fabric in 1971,  it sure looks like the founders of the Willow School are doing the same thing for younger students. The article below covers what will hopefully be incorporated in many schools across the U.S. and abroad.   In New Zealand as well, (where we’ve been living), bullying appears to be a problem.

Proctor’s experiential model

I’m reprinting this article in hopes that it will fall into the right hands of school teachers and administrators.  During my 15-plus teaching years at Outward Bound, the debrief and reflection were key to a successful outcome for the students, and helped insure some strong “takeaways” that they could use as life skills.  In fact, Outward Bound Professional Development courses also incorporate these basic techniques (more…)

The Power of Vulnerability


Brené Brown:TED Talk

Vulnerability and Connecting, A TED Talk with Brené Brown
Mountain Spirit Institute’s newest board member Ken Wylie has been expressing the vital requirement of vulnerability in which to build a foundation of compassion and connection (which is our mission) to the natural world, each other and a deeper connection to ourselves.  It appears that like great minds think alike –  Brené Brown states in her TED talk: The power of vulnerability.
Brown studies human connection – our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk at TED in Houston, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. See Brene’s talk here or click on the image at right.

Special thanks to Lindy Roberts in Auckland, NZ for sending this our way.

We Were There: Obama in Unity, NH


D.R. Richards

Image: D.R. Richards

I happened to be coming back from the Northfield Conference last spring, and heard from a friend, that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were in Unity, New Hampshire, of all places, giving a speech of Unity. The timing was right, so I swung in, on my way back to Sunapee. There were shuttle buses all over the place. Acquaintances and fellow townspeople that recognized, were streaming in along with from the surrounding towns of New London, Sunapee and Newport to see these two. Joining were them were a few thousand from points afar, and joining them were photographers and press people of all sorts.  I hadn’t heard about the shuttle buses, or any arrangements about leaving cars at some remote lot, and drove my van along the road to Unity and parked about a half mile from  the “downtown Unity village district”.   

During my travels with Mountain Spirit Institute, Outward Bound, or Alpine Ascents International, I have always encountered foreigners who have enjoyed getting to know us North Americans, but have had concerns about our serious lack of judgement when it comes to controlling or choosing our leaders.   I am once again proud of our populace for finally making a progressive decision. I haven’t felt this way since I was a child.  I have no delusions that Obama is the fix-all president, however this goes a long way in our country, to rising to the occasion, as a more compassionate people and nation. Thank God, it’s about time.
I used to work for Suki Coughlin in New London, NH.  She was a stringer for U.P.I. Wire Services, and taught me a lot about press work. I used to cover quite a few presidential campaigns in my former life. So, When I had my camera with me this day,  decided to get near the podium and take a few shots of this moment. Who would have thought? It’s not only true that we’ve passed a crossroads in having our first black president, but we’ve certainly crossed a wonderful threshold where it’s becoming self-evident there is a new paradigm in the U.S., one of a new level of compassion, humility and equality.