A ritual we began doing toward the last third of the semester
was asking each student to share:
a rose: something good that happened in the week
a thorn: something tough, challenging
a bud: something good waiting to happen in the coming week
During our family Shabbat table we ask each week:
What is something good thing that happened this week. We've been doing it for twenty years or so.
My son Alex, told me he and his friends have expanded that ritual to and now ask one another on Shabbat to share: a rose, thorm, and bud. So I tried it number of weeks ago with the Madrichim.
I told the students they had a choice
"Share whatever you like: a bud, a thorn or a rose.
And each week they each shared all three, never taking a choice and always
wanting to share all of the parts of their week.
One student spoke about her grandfather passing away last week. We had said a misheberech for him a few weeks ago.
Mike said he celebrated his fifth month anniversary with his girlfriend, that was his rose. And he hadn't gotten in to district band that was his thorn.
Ww learned his girlfriend's father is Jewish and her mother isn't.
"Rhat's the first question every Jewish mother wants to know, "Is she Jewish?" someone said.
I asked, "Why do you think that is?"
"Because its this long chain of generations and they dont' want that to break," said a student.
Still sharing the week's stories: One student spoke about getting up for recital and blowing it because her flute didn't work.
But she wasn't hard on herself. The students said she was having rachamim on her self and giving her self the benefit of the doubt. (hey they have a Jewish vocabulary for understanding their lives)
One of the younger students said how much she had appreciated hearing everyone's sharing.
She said she came in one week and thought
"I had the worst week of my life.
Then I heard about the two students having car accidents
and realized that my week wasn't so bad."
A boy said he appreciated hearing what was going that was good and a challenge for people.
Assessment of Outcomes:
We did our survey's again.
A student talked about the donuts: it represents we have whole in our lives, things that are complete, and we all have holes in our lives. And added a 12th grader, that's got something to do with trying to be holy.
The survey was helpful. It was like a summing up. So the students could say: I did learn something. I did remember stuff.
By the end each student went around and shared something that they liked or were taking away.
When it was my turn I told them how much appreciated that they shared the Torah of their lives here. And that I saw they were the light of the future.
Talia talked about learning values that she knew from places like a Miley Cyrus song
and seeing that they were Jewish too.
Some people said they learned to be more sensitive to their students
and put themselves in their place. Some might have said that just to be nice and try to offer an answer.
Someone said: "I came here to help the teachers, but now I see I'm here to be with the students and
make connections with them."