Where Serendipity Meets Design

Jimmy on the front porch with B-Shoc

Jimmy on the front porch with B-Shoc

Serendipity is one of those great words in life: five beautiful syllables to say “luck,” “chance,” “fate,” “fortune,” kismet.” It makes you sound really smart when you use it. Lots of people have to go look it up after hearing it used. And I personally enjoy making people look up definitions — it’s the Language Arts Diva within me!

“Design” is its opposite. Things that happen “by design” are most definitely not serendipitous. It takes a process to make it happen. It needs a grand plan, a blueprint, or a complicated drawing. Like a house. The boys’ therapeutic work here at Cherokee Creek is a very good example of a well-designed plan. There is a “PATH” they must walk. There are processes they must go through. It is a long and sometimes arduous journey of self-discovery. They graduate with new skills, new self-concepts, and a new vision for their future.

Toward that end, this quarter in the classroom we have studied the Way of the Visionary. We have talked a lot about whether we make things happen or whether things happen to us. We studied people who made a difference in the world and discussed how to become a person who makes a difference. We talked about careers, college paths, and causes. And we talked about their personal plan.

In the same quarter, I had the good fortune (here’s the serendipity part) to meet two gentlemen with an inordinate amount of musical and technological talent. Neither is my forte, so these are indeed good people to know. One of the gentlemen, Shannon Chiles, offered to share his skills with our boys to help them voice their visions of themselves. The process went something like this:

First we came up with the “hook” to a song. One of our boys then took on the task of writing lyrics. Shannon next came to campus and taught a lesson on how to storyboard a video. The boys went to work filling 4.5 seconds with their personal stories.

Some music chords were then chosen as the backbone for the song. Shannon took these pieces to his friend, Bryan Edmonds – also known as B-Shoc– and the two mixed it all together to record it. Three trips back to the school with a camera, and there was enough footage for a music video.

It’s a wonderful thing when serendipity and design come together to create beautiful and meaningful outcome. We can’t wait to share the music video with our families next week at Family Seminar, and then with the world on our website.

Consider for a moment where serendipity and design come together in your life. Where does your plan meet up with chance or kismet? How does your vision for the future change when that occurs?

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posted by Shaler Black Cooper in Discovering What is Real and True and have Comments (8)

A Different Lens

Academic Dean Denise Savidge

Academic Dean Denise Savidge

This past Monday, Language Arts dovetailed with Current Events and History as the news of the death of Osama Bin Laden became the topic of the day. Most of the boys here at CCBS were 2-4 years old when 9/11 occurred, too young to remember the event itself and to experience the shockwave of emotions that overtook the nation at the time. But many knew someone who was affected by the tragedy in some way and had very strong opinions on it.

The natural reaction expected from the boys was received: the, “justice was served,” “he got what he had coming,” and “I’m glad he’s dead,” comments were numerous. But then the discussion went another way…the boys researched and viewed the celebrations that were held near the White House and in Times Square. They read the backstory of the Navy Seal operation and the history of Al Qaeda ad Bin Laden himself. They heard of the woman who lost her life as a human shield for a terrorist. All the appropriate news sources were fair game for digging in and finding the story without YouTube assistance.

The boys were then asked to rethink the situation and decide how the celebrations fit with their own personal values and the values expressed in our Lessons of the Medicine Wheel: How did the people involved show Love, Truth, Courage and Wisdom? Were they behaving as Visionaries, Warriors, Teachers and Healers?

Their words are inspiring:

We need our leaders to tell the truth without blame or judgement. We also need our leaders to be insightful to see what the terrorists could be thinking before they do it. We need the people to be healers. We need to be loving and lovable…we need to shine the way when all other lights go out. To our country’s thinkers, they need to be wise and trust that we’ll find the way and be flexible to whatever could happen. We can make this country stronger than it has ever been before. -AB

I think the celebration of the death of Bin Laden does not fit well with any of the four levels of CCBS. I think (that) solemnity would fit more. With the Visionary you are supposed to accept his death. For Teacher…you are supposed to be trusting. Therefore, you can trust the US Military and all of our armed forces. Healer would be most relevant because you are supposed to be forgiving, therefore forgive what he has done even though it would be really hard because of everything he has done. -SD

They (the people celebrating) are not being Teachers, because if we are celebrating someone dying, what are we teaching a kid and everyone that looks up to us? -MH

Each of us has our opinion about the recent events surrounding Bin Laden’s death. The exercise was not meant to bias our students one way or another, but to offer an opportunity for them to think for themselves, to examine this story through a different lens and to apply their understanding of the medicine wheel to a world event. I was impressed by the seriousness they brought to the assignment…and look forward to watching these bright young men continue to grow!

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posted by Shaler Black Cooper in Discovering What is Real and True and have Comment (1)