Tej Acton Academy


The Inexhaustible Lamp

In our elementary studio, we spend a lot of time discussing the many ways in which we communicate with one another. One of the ideas we visit frequently is the notion that what we say is every bit as important as how we say it.

During Socratic discussions, our communication is formal. There are rules of engagement dictating how long the discussion will last, how often we have the opportunity to speak, and how our statements must be formed. Other times, different rules apply. When the heroes are simply chatting during a snack break, what rules apply then? 

Our words hold so much power. The power to lift someone up, or the power to make them feel small and insignificant. Our goal is to be more aware of the impact we have on those around us, and to use our powers of communication in the most positive way possible.

But it’s not easy to create an environment that is filled with young people who constantly build each other up. Who exalt each other’s accomplishments while forgiving their mistakes. One of the biggest pitfalls along the way is fear of comparison. For some—and certainly not only children—drawing attention to someone else’s success can cause them to feel less successful by comparison. And so our mission is also one of growing self-confidence.

You may be familiar with the Buddhist philosophy of the “inexhaustible lamp.” It states that a single lamp may light hundreds of thousands of lamps without itself being diminished. Similarly, we can lift our fellow travelers and celebrate their accomplishments without ourselves feeling outshined.

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