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Parent Testimony: The Invisible System at Wonder

By Zach Lahn on March 02, 2022

The great privilege in my work is hearing personal stories of growth sparked by the Wonder model: a tight-knit learning community where individuality is honored not in spite of the larger community (system) but because of it and its standards rooted in love and respect.

A Wonder parent sent me this email and she gave me permission to share it with you. Her story re-inspires me to trust the children. Here are her words:

Our daughter came home and told me that her Deep Book Badge was taken away. The peer who approved her badge overlooked one of the badge requirements and approved it anyway. Because of the mistake, both my daughter and her peer had the badge taken away.

I was not exactly happy with her explanation. Below was how that conversation took place at home after school:

Mom: They took your deep book badge away because the person who approved your badge overlooked a requirement? Should I talk to the guides about this?

Daughter: No, it is okay mom!

Silence from mom.

Mom: Should I talk to his mom about this to help your peer be more careful next time?

Daughter: No, it is okay mom!

Silence from mom.

Mom: But you spent weeks reading and working on your Deep Book Badge. Is it fair that they took it away because of your peer's mistake?

Daughter: It is okay mom!

Silence from mom.

More silence from mom.

Mom: Why are you okay with this whole thing?

Daughter: Mom, have you ever thought that this is a great opportunity for me to be a better coach and leader regardless of losing my badge? I now have a second chance to help my peer! I will get it back again but I really want to help him be more careful next time.

What did I learn from this conversation with our young daughter?

I learned there is a wonderful invisible system that takes place during the day while our kids are at school learning together as a community. The system constantly rearranges itself to help all of our children: the slow, the fast, the strong, the weak, the hard working and all the ones in between.

It is often too easy for us to think of how many badges our children collect, how many boxes they checked off, or how may lessons they finished because those are the tangible things we could see and measure.

I was too quick to think about the deep book badge my daughter lost and did not see how she was able to stretch herself to grow mentally.

From losing the Deep Book Badge, she has received a series of lessons back: accountability, compassion, self evaluation. These lessons are the same for her peer.You really can’t teach that in a textbook.

Our daughter did a wonderful job of reminding me to step back and allow her to grow.

Wonder is her community and she owns it.

[Blogs or portion of blogs may be adapted from the blog of our partner school founder and advisor, Laura Sandefer.]