Had my life increased, or merely added to itself?

December 1, 2013

“Had my life increased, or merely added to itself? There had been addition and subtraction in my life, but how much multiplication?”

This quote is from the novel I’m reading, The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes. The book is unsettling me.  It deals in memory and the tricks it plays, which is making me involuntarily search for my own lost moments.  Barnes also covers, with gloves off, how life can be led, dare I say– badly, without direction or real intention.  It can slip away as a series of days on a calendar that may add together, but don’t accumulate or build into anything worthwhile…if we aren’t careful.  Or perhaps, more to the point, if we are too careful.

Even though the book is causing me some angst and weird turns of nostalgia, it’s also making me conscious and proud of the Center School approach. The way children are invited to help build their community and take responsibility for it gives them chances to try on different roles, different approaches to living and working.  And each time our question is something like, “How did that go?”  Or, “What did you bring to the situation?”  Or, “What did you expect to get out of it?  Were you present?  Were you noticing?”  Thus, as our Center Schoolers progress through life, they do it with what the English call “nous”  (pronounced nouse– like mouse), which one can loosely translate as gumption or good sense.

This blog will often chronicle the nous of our students.  May we all learn from them and let their way be an invitation for us to follow suit, multiplying our single days into the most meaningful lives.

Charlie Spencer, Head of School
Contact Charlie: Email
Phone: 413-773-1700
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