Serendipity Part 2

As promised, here is the video students wrote and helped produce during the first nine weeks. For the first installment of this blog click: Where Serendipity Meets Design.

As I said before, it’s a wonderful thing when serendipity and design come together to create beautiful and meaningful outcome.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SwVI0LZSFg

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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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Divine Comedy

Phil works with an early CCBS student on a building project

Phil works with an early CCBS student on a building project

“I hate you.  I’m going to run away.” That was my son at 7 years of age – willful and independent – pretty typical, I know, but then I added, “Good. I’ll help you pack.” I stood there while my son stuffed his red Elmo stuffed toy and other essentials into his small daypack and headed for the door. I was slightly amused, but also amazed and ashamed that this little powerhouse of energy was able to put me in that emotional spot so easily.

In another instant I was remembering myself as a child that age and shouting that same thing to my parents, righteously justified and utterly convinced of the injustice of my life. I also remembered the blessing uttered by parents and grandparents everywhere, “May you get one just like you.”

I often find that the universe has a sense of humor – like a perpetual April Fool’s Day.

I love my parents completely and unconditionally…a gift from the universe that was hard wired into me at birth. However, the deep love and fierce sense of protection I feel for my son is a gift from him. There is just no way I could have reached that level of emotion and devotion on my own. I needed the help of another soul, one who at times is helpless, at times is independent, but is almost always a true reflection of myself.

At Cherokee Creek Boys School, the small school with the big heart, we are entering the Visionary aspect of our Lessons of the Medicine Wheel; a time when we emphasize Truth and the lesson, “Tell the Truth without Blame or Judgement.”

For me, truth is always mixed with a little humor. And the truth is that the love we feel for our children can make fools of us all. Learning to laugh at ourselves and see our own reflection in our children is a real and true gift.

Happy April Fool’s Day

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River Lessons (Part 5)

Students recently reflected on their Treks experiences through writing and made connections to the Lessons of the Medicine Wheel and the 4 aspects of self they explore while enrolled at Cherokee Creek: the Warrior, Visionary, Healer and Teacher. The River Lessons are an 8-part blog series sharing these unique student perspectives.

Student: Greg
Aspect: Visionary
Statement: I am Creative

“I think that in the Visionary I am creative because I found new ways to do things. For example, making a light overhead so I can read in my tent, or putting up a tarp, or making a fire like building a teepee and building a log cabin around it – also on the river I made it fun by playing on the rapids – that is also creative.”

Greg’s playful, curious nature empowered him to create more comfort in his tent and and more fun on the river.

What kinds of things do you do to make your world more fun or comfortable? How have you approached a recent situation and improved it with your own authentic style of creativity?

Lessons of the Medicine Wheel
Cherokee Creek Boys School is a therapeutic boarding school for middle-school boys, ages 11-15, located in Westminster, SC.

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River Lessons (Part 2)

This week we continue the River Lessons, a series of blogs from our students’ perspectives. Students recently reflected on their Treks experiences through writing and made connections to the Lessons of the Medicine Wheel and the 4 aspects of self they learn to explore while enrolled at Cherokee Creek: the Warrior, Visionary, Healer and Teacher.

Student: Ben
Aspect: Visionary
Statement: I am Creative

“I am creative. I was able to make a “think-fast” decision when I missed the course on the rapid. The creativity flung me over a rock avoiding the hydraulic sideways and landing me at the bottom. This has also helped me gain confidence.”

Ben details well the creativity involved with problem solving as he adapted to his circumstances. He reminds us that we can always make a different choice.

What circumstances bring forth your creative best? When facing a situation where you need to “think-fast,” how do you respond?

*A hydraulic is a river feature where the water flows over a smooth ledge and then rolls back towards the ledge. In smaller rapids they become fun spots to play by keeping your boat on the wave – or “surfing”. In larger rapids their “sticky” nature makes them a hazard best to be avoided.

Lessons of the Medicine Wheel

Cherokee Creek Boys School is a therapeutic boarding school for middle-school boys located in Upstate South Carolina.

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