June 18, 2021

Posted by Kert Lenseigne on 6/15/2021

June 18, 2021!

And that is that. Right? The end of the school year and the start of summer vacation. 


To think we can or should end this school year like others would be a mistake. The moment calls us to consider and reflect in a deeply meaningful manner so that the lessons embedded within the past 16 months can be surfaced and learned. And learned well. Let the following not surprise you:


I, Kert Lenseigne, proud principal of Cascade View elementary, am deeply grateful for the past 16 months of the Covid 19 pandemic. And I am grateful for the lessons yet to be learned from the way we had to do school, and cultivate new connections and relationships. I am grateful for the way we, you as parents, we as educators, had to partner differently to better serve our children to meet them where they were. I am grateful because all we’ve gone through CAN serve us well, CAN make us stronger, CAN be of profound benefit to all of us—but especially our children. 


In a way, and maybe this is the healthiest way to look back at what just happened, and from which we are still emerging, we need to look upon the last 16 months as an initiation. We no longer have meaningful initiations in our dominant culture—at lease ones that we ritualize and count upon. In a larger sense, events happen to us all the time that, with the right mindset, can be authentically considered as important initiations in our developing and evolving lives. 


Initiation is a transition—from a death to a new life. From something that must be left to the past in order to more fully embody the future. Initiations also go by the phrase “rites of passage.” Initiations always intend to be of benefit not only to the individual going through the initiation, but also to their clan, or village, or tribe, or family. Initiations strengthen us all. And sadly, though this is the hardest fact to acknowledge, lack of initiation causes harm, and mostly in ways we cannot see but know to be real with a proper reflection. 


So, the invitation extended is to look upon the last 16 months of the Covid 19 pandemic as just this—an initiation. This takes effort and will but the outcome of this perspective will be immense, powerful, empowering, and incredibly positive—to say nothing of being in the best interest of our children. In doing so, we no longer fall into victimhood—the “woe is me and our kids” mentality that they have somehow been harmed (some think irreparably), or broken, or worse, have fallen so far behind and need now to be fixed or “caught up to what was lost;” that somehow the pandemic shut down irrevocably effected our children’s mental health; that we need to save them from future damage by insisting on special treatment—to treat them as forever babies. 


Ancestral initiations were passage rites from childhood to adulthood. Metaphorically, the intention is (well, was) to “kill off the child” in order to birth the adult. It was believed (and maybe still, I would argue, a truism) that this needed to happen to create an empowered and resilient human--thus strengthening the tribe/village. 


Seeing the pandemic—with the resulting impact upon the shutdown of schools, forcing all to experience connection in new and different ways, and in some sad cases not at all—as an initiation, calls us to honor the soul within ourselves and the world to become more resilient, and empowered, and self-confident. Surviving through initiation with the learning intact, means we all come out the other side having stepped closer to realizing our innate and extraordinary human potential (and important component of our WHY). Look, we did this. We are now about on the other side of the pandemic as we plan for a full return to school next year. But we find ourselves right here, and right now, on the edge of decision: do we create a narrative of victimhood and panic and start the new school year rushed to test, test, test in order to heroically save our kids, fix them, and close the gaps from what they’ve lost; OR, as I would argue, do we celebrate our kids for having come through the pandemic, having done this hard thing (and done it well), honor their own unique narratives that they created within themselves through art and music and storytelling and renewed friendship and relationship, do we look upon this time as the end of initiation so that we can look at our kids, and each other, as soulful and resilient humans ready to continue on our own unique journeys of realizing our own innate and extraordinary human potential? And then do we, as their caring parents and teachers, join together, in strong partnership, as their village, to best serve each child in this realization? May THIS be so—THIS is how we at Cascade View will serve our school community upon our return in the Fall.   


To pull this off, however, needs mindful and skillful adults who are willing to step into the lost roles of village sages and elders—those who used to walk among us as keepers of wisdom and guides through initiations. I invite you to join US as village elders--no matter your age. (Elderhood in this sense is not age-dependent!). If you need mentoring, simply watch us perform this magic over the coming school year. Or better, actively engage with us on this level—for now, more then ever in our past, we know with certainty: It Takes A Village To Raise Our Children. 


May you all take great pride for having come to this point in time and may you all use, create, and experience a summer vacation that manifests health, wellness, happiness, and joy. We did this…and we did this together. And we did it well. Thank you for that! Our kids are the better for it—I promise. 


Oh, and our children remain incredible, awesome, inspiring, and Thunderific. I honestly could not be more proud of each one of them. Thank you for sharing them with us.