Although not entirely unexpected, the lessons yesterday and today are proving to offer the most meaningful time for students at Sanctum. We had a lovely Year 8 group today (our only lesson of the day) who, although they only had half an hour, really engaged well with the activities and as a result got a lot out of it. In the feedback time at the end one boy volunteered that he thought he wouldn’t like it because it’s ‘not his sort of thing’ but that actually he had really appreciated the activities he’d done and had changed his mind. Another girl spoke about the powerful and affirming impact the mirrors activity had had on her and others spoke of the sense of release from past hurts.
Break time was busy, with some returning for a second visit and lots of students who were new to Sanctum. Lunchtime, however, was harder work. In spite of our best laid plans, we ended up with too many in the room. To their credit, many of these young people were engaging with the activities and making the most of the opportunity. But others were a bit hyper and we had to ask several groups to leave the quiet tent on a number of occasions.
One of the difficulties with something that is as novel, intriguing and also accepting as Sanctum is that it can become a magnet for the mildly ADHD students who find it difficult to concentrate for any length of time, especially while their friends are around them. We know from experience that they can engage with Sanctum and often experience a depth of peace and self awareness that surprises them and draws them back again. But this is never guaranteed. We ask some people to leave, but don't want to appear to be policing things too harshly. It’s a difficult task to ‘filter’ people at the door, welcoming some and denying others based simply on a hunch about how they might behave. I don’t want to run Sanctum just for the ‘nice kids’, the ‘quiet ones’, the already ‘spiritually sensitive’ students. This is a school that caters for a wide range of abilities, backgrounds and behaviours and does it spectacularly well and I believe Sanctum should also reflect this.
We’ll be trying a few new things tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it goes!
Today I spent some of a free lesson praying over the contributions to the Prayer Wall. I’ve photographed a few of them and ask that you join with us in echoing the prayers of these young people.
I was particularly struck by the number of students who are concerned about their parents smoking: