I remember my mother always telling me that compassion is as much of a blessing as it is a curse. To be able to feel for others means being able to feel everything … the good, the bad, and the painful. It is difficult sometimes, oh who am I kidding, ALL of the time, to look at this world, at its suffering, and not feel too much. The anger, the poverty, the very essence of all those who are lost. It is overwhelming. But as Andrew Boyd said, “Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it.” This year, the kids in Mrs. Salvador’s Spanish One class decided that they would not be crushed – not by the barriers of time, or space. Becoming a global citizen begins with caring about the people and the issues that are not directly related to you necessarily, but that wear on your heart to the point of changing it. In an effort to make her students more globally aware, Mrs. Salvador opened their hearts to the possibility of a beautiful relationship. Below, two students share their experience.
“Spanish 1 wrote letters to the children in the Dominican Republic where the seniors were going for their missions trip. We were all very excited to write to these children and hear back from them. When the seniors got back from their trip they had the letters that the children had written back to us. We were all super happy to hear back from these children and read what they had written us. The children who wrote to us were third graders and they went to school at Freedom school. We went to their school’s website and got to see pictures of them. Their website is www.itisforfreedom.com.” – Kenzie DeReus
“Our Spanish class recently wrote a letter to the Dominican Republic. We didn’t really know who would be receiving the letters. We wrote letters asking them many questions and telling them a little bit about ourselves. A third-grade class ended up receiving our letters and they wrote back to us. A 9-year-old girl named Rosa wrote me back. She was so sweet and told me so much about herself. I think that it is so cool that we got to communicate with a group of kids far away that we probably would have never been able to meet otherwise.” – Abigail Taylor
Mrs. Salvador had the amazing foresight to connect potential mission students of Mr. Flemming years ahead, with students they will actually have the opportunity to meet when they are seniors. “This way they will be able to build relationships,” she said. Not only is this lesson interdisciplinary and multi-aged, but authentic in investing in cultivating a global conscious and cultivating an open heart. What a blessing to Westlake that we have teachers who care so much that they are literally willing to stretch their compassion around the world.