The Power of Windows and Mirrors

Windows and mirrors. I first learned of them through the National SEED Project (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) and the work of Dr. Peggy McIntosh years ago. But this morning, as we welcomed parents for lower school visiting day, I found myself thinking about the difference between, and the value of, windows and mirrors. Through a window, we are granted access to a world that may be very different from our own—filled with experiences and ideas that perhaps we haven’t seen before. In a mirror, we see ourselves reflected—similar experiences, the comfort of what we know, and security about our own place in the conversation. It is my hope that parents visiting today were able to see their child’s world through both a window and a mirror—that they witnessed their child having a new, enlightening, or inspiring experience and that their own experience of childhood was echoed back through the joy of childhood and school.

The notion of windows and mirrors extends well beyond a school visit, too. Conceptually, it has universal application: in any relationship we have in our lives, consider the value of those windows and mirrors. Where can we see the beliefs or behaviors of others and give ourselves the license to better understand them? Where do we see our own experience mirrored back to us with room for common understanding with those whom we may not yet know as well as we would like?

At today’s assembly, as the audience witnessed some of the ways our school honors the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, I expect our children experienced some windows and mirrors of their own. Places where, through service, they saw and learned something new about others and about themselves, and places where they saw commonality with their own experience in their effort to help others.

Truly, the power of windows and mirrors abound here at BDS. Whether in the diversity of a community where we are all bringing our unique perspectives and experiences to bear in the classroom as learners or as a community of parents and teachers engaging in dialogue about the ways in which all of those diverse experiences inform our work here at the school, we are always using windows and mirrors to do it.

And, whether by mirror or by window, I am quite confident that everyone can find a way to see the joy, respect, and responsibility that comes with being a student here at Belmont Day. Using both a window and mirror of my own, I spent today marvelling at the powerful relationships that have been crafted between teachers, students, and parents, and I learned a great deal—as I do every day—about the magic of Belmont Day. Have a great weekend.

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