Shared Gifting

I’m back, after another whirlwind of travel and activity, this time from Milwaukee. I went there to attend another Shared Gifting Meeting of Waldorf Schools from the Mid-States region.

What’s a Waldorf School? Well, in my estimation, it may well be the single greatest educational opportunity for young children that you’ve never heard of. All three of my daughters are graduates of Alabama Waldorf School. They started as toddlers with their mother in a Morning Garden class, a kind of Mommy & Me introduction to Waldorf methodology, and continued through Nursery, Kindergarten, and then the Grades. Alabama Waldorf School runs through the eighth grade.

What’s special about Waldorf Schools is that they educate by supporting the development of the whole human being. Waldorf kids are not automatons built to recite data, but whole, caring, thinking human beings - something our current world is in desperate short supply.

My wife teaches at Alabama Waldorf School and as an alumni parent, I am a lifelong supporter.

What’s shared gifting? Nothing short of amazing. Almost 20 years ago a fund was established to help support Waldorf Schools in the area of the United States defined as that between the Appalachian and the Rocky Mountains. Each year there is a grant that must be distributed among participating members. Grant proposals are written and submitted and each fall we get together to decide how those funds should be distributed.

I’ve been a part of this group for two years now. What’s unique is that while we take the general pot we’re all seeking grants from and divide it evenly among the group, we then take that money and give it away. Each one of us decides, based on the merits of each proposal, where we think “our” dollars will be most beneficial and gift those dollars accordingly.

The emphasis becomes cooperation and mutual support and, in addition to distributing grant money, friendship and resource sharing takes over. So that, even if you leave the event not fully funded for your ask, you leave quite rich in resources and alliances to further your work.

It’s a framework steeped in abundance rather than scarcity and it’s something we’d all do better knowing more about.

On our own, we all have limited resources. There’s only so much time, money, energy that we can generate and expend. Cooperatively, we expand those resources. I know when my wife is out of town, I have much more work to do, just as she feels it when I’m gone. Together we tackle the tasks of running a household in a way that’s sustainable for both us and leaves us each with more time and more energy to spend in ways we both benefit from.

The gym is not that different (you did know I was coming around to this, didn’t you?) On your own, fitness, training, exercise, whatever you want to call it, can be daunting. It’s another effort, another expenditure of energy, that you’ve got to come up with. Some days that just seems like too much.

A group, however, brings abundance. There’s something inherently energizing about joining your friends and working together for a common goal. The workout, itself, yields dividends you might not have gotten just working by yourself, with Shaun T or some other virtual trainer.

To our perfect imperfection,

Dave

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