We seek to align social practices with values in order to develop capacities that contribute to the greater whole and to humanity. The following are case studies related to the art of conscious conversation.
Restoring Vitality to Community Life
An independent Waldorf school was in a challenging situation when they contacted the Institute for Social Renewal in the winter of 2012 — dwindling enrollment (partly due to a number of charter schools in the area), financial instability, social problems, and an eroding reputation in the community. ISR provided consulting services with a public talk and workshop in early 2013. We were pleased to hear recent news and an update:
We are drawing towards the end of our spring fundraising drive. Besides money for our immediate needs, the spring drive has yielded some nice surprises for next year: some grandparents have pledged to pay the full amount of their grandchildren’s contribution and one has pledged $1,000/month to help lower-income students attend.
We are losing some families for unavoidable reasons, but we have also gained families as the good news about our school and the ATA program spread out into the community. We’ll have many more families in the school next year than we did this year, which bodes well for future enrollment.
The best news I have for you is that, ever since your visit, the school community has erupted with enthusiasm and vigor, like a field of blooming wildflowers. Amazingly resourceful and committed parents have come out of the woodwork to step into some key roles, and the general feeling in the parent body is one of love and appreciation for the school and excitement about its future. To have these amazingly capable people stepping up with energy, creativity, and skill generates a really huge experience of relief and thankfulness.
The Art of Conscious Conversation as a Guiding Principle
At the very beginning of the Singing Stones School, the founders understood the value of the art of conscious conversation in understanding how to serve families. Dana Jain, founder and teacher, explains it this way: