A Village

November 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Imagine: you wake up to the sound of your bedroom door creaking open.  You glance at the red digital numbers; 2:27 A.M.  You think to yourself, three nights in a row?  Your son gently creeps into your arms seeking your comfort.  He tells you that he had the same dream that he had last night and the night before.  You ask your son, “well, what happened in the nightmare?”  His only response, “I don’t want to talk about it.”  Trying to get it out of him you ask again, “It’s alright, you can tell me.”  Only wanting to be with you, he repeats his response, “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Knowing that he will continue to have this dream unless you do something and not knowing what exactly to do, you turn to the collective wisdom of your village.  In this particular case, the village happened to be the community of parents and teachers at Counterpane Montessori School.  The parent, not wanting her son to suffer from these nightmares anymore, asked around and was given a great solution to the problem by a teacher at the school: have the child draw the nightmare on a sheet of paper and then rip it to pieces.  This empowers the child to destroy and stop his own nightmare instead of having someone else take care of it for him. This technique also gives the child a boost of confidence so that the dreams are, once and for all, terminated.

Immediately, the nightmares ceased.  He never had the same recurring nightmare again.  Without this village, this child would have continued to have the same nightmare repeatedly night after night.  Without this village, a mother and father would not have received much sleep for the rest of the week.

Counterpane is not merely a school.  It is a community, a village, of caring people who take responsibility for one another.  Counterpane is full of collective wisdom that every teacher, parent, and student has access to.  Counterpane is so much more than a building that imparts knowledge to young people.  Counterpane is so many things to so many different people but to call it a school is deeply insufficient.

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