Will power and teenagers – it seems an obvious match when you stop to think about it, but unfortunately it’s usually viewed as a generational power struggle.
In an Education for Life School this juxtaposition is seen in a very different way. As the third of four elements in the Tools of Maturity progression (along with the body, feelings, and intellect), will power represents the activating quality that allows people to bring their hopes and ideas into manifestation. Recently, one of our past students was given the following compliment by a friend.
“I want to be like you. I used to think that there were two kinds of people in the world: those who live passively, just responding to life as it comes to them, and those who live more actively, watching for opportunities in order to take advantage of them. But you’re different; you create your own opportunities!”
How does a school go about nurturing dynamic will power? In our high school this kind of training permeates almost everything we do. Some examples include:
Service Adventures: Each year the older students leave the secure confines of home and school to venture out into new life experiences. Students have lived in a Mexican orphanage, helped host war refugees from Kosovo, given kirtan concerts from Los Angeles to Seattle and Boston to Hawaii, and lived in other spiritual communities.
Mathematics: All of our math is individualized to make sure that each student is challenged on a daily basis. The usual math lecture approach leaves 1/3 of the students bored because they don’t need the direction and another 1/3 lost because they can’t keep up. That does not happen at LWS because each student is taught at their individual level.
Earning Tuition: Each of our junior and senior high students earns part of their tuition, ranging from $500 for 7th graders to $900 and up for 11th & 12th graders. Students find a wide variety of ways to earn money including running our Thrift Shop, creating a summer childcare business, and playing music at local fairs.
Physical Education: This past year all of our older students took up the challenge of running a mile. By the end of the year according to national averages everyone was in the top half of their age group, and almost all were in the top 25%.
Leadership Training: In addition to performing all around the continent in our White Light Kirtan Band, the students have successfully lead Sharing Nature workshops for other schools in the surrounding area as well as classes in hatha yoga for younger students.
With this kind of training students gain the confidence that they can work with life in constructive and expansive ways. One recent graduate put together a successful campaign to get elected sophomore class president at his college. Another girl volunteered to be stage manager for an international drama camp for 125 youth, staying up almost every night for a week to complete the job.
The goal of an Education for Life School is to help students integrate Dynamic Will Power with Physical Vitality, Emotional Maturity, and Intellectual Integrity. The results can be earth-shaking.
By Nitai Deranja, founder of Education for Life (EFL) and first Living Wisdom school