Democracy. Power to the people! It sounds pretty, but it’s pretty messy.
This week, the 24 (plus a 25th in and out of Skype range) Eagles revisited the Governing Documents created by the very first crop of Middle Schoolers at the beginning of the last school year- the Contract of Promises, the Rules of Engagement, the code of Community Standards and the Student Governance Plan – and took on the task of refining them, revising them, or even tossing them away and starting over from scratch.
They divided into pods of 8; each pod elected a leader; and the leaders listened, took notes, added their opinions judiciously, withheld their opinions judiciously, and provided a calming base for the intense disagreements that frequently arose.
It was intense this afternoon. (Picture the Second Constitutional Convention, but with women and a/c. )
The values the Eagles have already adopted- of making clear points in as few words as possible, avoiding repetition, listening respectfully and building on each others’ statements- kept this community forum from turning into an after school event.
(And they actually did have time to clean up afterwards; the resulting Studio was, according to our Clean-Up Champion Anaya Mehta, “almost pristine but with room for improvement”).
Try to get 24 people to agree on anything – anything important, that is, that affects their ability to do the work they’ve chosen and pursue the calling of their choice, to be on their own Hero’s Journey and support those of their Fellow Travelers- and it gets complicated fast. Most adults understand how hard it, even with the perspective of maturity, is to mesh one person’s Journey gracefully with that of another, let alone several or a dozen or two.
At the end of the day, they succeeded- they unanimously passed a set of documents: drawn up by Eagles, argued about by Eagles, approved by Eagles- that they will ceremoniously sign, and sign off on, tomorrow afternoon.
How nice it will be to live under the rule of a benevolent majority… until dissent, the threat of mob rule, and potential tyranny bring everyone back to the Town Hall for another argument. Probably sooner rather than later.