Weavers

I was never a huge crier. It has just not been my body’s natural response to my emotions until the last several months. I have found myself crying a lot more lately as I have been actively working to seek out joy and human connection in all new ways. My sense of gratitude for what I have and am able to do causes me to tear up often these days. I am blessed to be surrounded by people who lift me up and are willing to share their stories with me. I am also blessed to be surrounded by people who challenge me to think differently or think bigger. I recently received an email that touched my heart very deeply. In it, one of our leaders said, “Please view this video because the first person that came to mind as I watched this with tears in my eyes was you. Thank you for being a “Weaver.” Attached to the email was this video.  I teared up at just the email, and then I took the time to watch the video and was taken aback. 

In the video, David Brooks describes a weaver as:

  • “These weavers are not living an individualistic life, they’re living a relationist life, they have a different set of values. They have moral motivations. They have vocational certitude, they have planted themselves down.”
  • “They have radical mutuality and they are geniuses at relationships.” 
  • “..they reach down and they grab people out of the valley. And that’s what the weavers are doing. Some of them switch jobs. Some of them stay in their same jobs. But one thing is, they have an intensity to them.”
  • “And when you are around these weavers, they see other people at twice the size as normal people. They see deeper into them. And what they see is joy.”
  • “They are out there as community builders all around the country.”

I had to watch it several times as being described as a weaver in this context was overwhelmingly flattering and incredibly humbling. Those are powerful statements about the life I aspire to live and always wonder if I do enough.  

When I thought about to whom I would send the video next, I was overwhelmed again. I had such a long list of people that are weavers around me that I could have sent it to many, many people. As I watch our teachers working with our learners across our district, I am amazed at how many of them are weavers. They have worked to create classrooms that are true communities, founded in relationships that infuse a real sense of belonging.  

We have a classroom of first and second graders working together on a little book lending library for their neighborhood by all designing a shingle for the roof that represents them. They have also conducted empathy interviews as a class. “As our Ss investigate how they can use their stories to create change, our 1/2s lead empathy interviews to understand the experiences and feelings of others in the community. It was real, raw, and insightful.” It is a community full of weavers. 

Another teacher shared some math investigations with me today. They were beautiful representations of how the teacher was looking to learn about her students, create connections, and build community. The more we ask our learners about who they are, what they will need from us, and when they feel successful, the more we will know them and they will be willing to get to know each other. This team of teachers recently had parent-teacher conferences and shared that they heard the word connections and community over and over again from families. These weavers are busy building a community together.  

Our music program is very strong and led by some amazing human beings that I am fortunate to know and get to support. The sense of family built within the program is inspiring and comes out in so many ways. They have gotten creative this year in how to continue that in our virtual world and have done so beautifully. A student made a poster with this quote when asked about how she felt about orchestra, “Family is not about blood. It is about who is willing to hold your hand when you need it.” She sees the weavers around her all the time.  

One of our teachers posted in her amazing blog, “It is difficult to measure academic mindset in a student. You can observe it and it can make you feel so proud to watch, but it is not quantifiable. Some students have a stronger connection to school and learning than others, which is why I don’t teach kids how to have an academic mindset, I model it. I come to work each day with a smile on my face. I get excited about what I teach. I bring my projects from home and I work on them alongside my students. I ask for feedback and use their ideas. I include them on the process. I get kids involved. I tailor individual projects to their interests. I give them special jobs. I cheer them on along the way- and I mean LITERALLY CHEER! Kids, no matter the age, mirror the behaviors they observe in the adults around them. They can tell if you do not like your job. If you don’t care, they won’t. If you REALLY care, they come along for the ride.” She’s a weaver and is creating space for other weavers to grow each day. 

We have an amazing charter school designed to support school-age parents. It is this magical place where young people learn about parenting while also graduating from high school. The fear and despair that a learner who is expecting a child while still in high school feels are very real. The team at Shared Journeys embraces each parent and child to help them to find their path. The sense of community that is created with these learners who often go on to post-secondary education and frequently come back to volunteer at the school is in the foundation of the school and its leader. She certainly is a weaver and always sees her learners as twice the size of normal people. She helps them to find the joy in parenting and themselves each day.  

This post could have been pages and pages with example after example. From our youngest learners to our oldest, we see weavers in our staff and our students alike. The radical mutuality and intensity they bring to school each day is admirable. It gives me a lot of hope for our future and joy every single day.

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