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Lise's Lens: September 14, 2023

This week I enjoyed an article in The Atlantic about the importance of play in adult friendships, along with a new series from WBUR that helps people navigate and find community in Boston. I’ve also been thinking a lot about the role of our amazing affinity, interest, and alliance groups, and even got to take a little excursion with two of them over the weekend!

WHAT I’M READING
 
  • I really enjoyed a recent article in The Atlantic about adult friendships and the concept of play. In the piece, author Rhaina Cohen points out how we as adults can sometimes forget how important play is to cultivating friendships and making memories. Instead, we tend to spend our time with friends we haven’t seen in a while, “catching up,” which doesn’t have the same effect because you are rehashing rather than creating. She cites research by Jeffrey Parker, a psychology professor at the University of Alabama, who found that for children, play presents a vulnerable way to connect, in which one child takes the risk of introducing something new, while the other either rejects that something, or collaborates to create something new with a friend. This kind of play happens often here at CSW in our Alliance, Interest, and Affinity groups. As we learned in a recent presentation by English Department Chair Jeannette Lee-Parikh, play is not wasted time. Play is chosen, direct, imaginative, active, social, iterative and enjoyable. It is a mindset. 

    Between big summer concerts and the Barbie and Oppenheimer movie, I wonder how many of you were able to play or reconnect with friends over the summer!
     
WHAT I’M THINKING/TALKING ABOUT
 
  • With students returning to campus and really being everywhere (like ants — which we want!), our mission is staring at us vividly and beautifully. I’ve been thinking a lot about our hopes for the new year. Parent/guardian hopes, faculty hopes, and especially the students’ hopes. For new students, it can be very basic for the first few days or weeks: How am I going to fit in? Where are my people? Will I be able to belong? Our affinity, alliance, and interest groups (clubs) are one place where students can find answers to these questions. These spaces allow students to find common ground or explore their identities. They are spaces to return to to “fill your cup” or to try out a new hobby, wellness pursuit, or way of thinking. In this way, no student feels like they are “the only one,” which is something many of them come to school fearing. 

WHAT I'M WATCHING/LISTENING TO
 
  • I’ve been living here in the Boston area for over four years now, but since much of that time transpired over the course of the pandemic, I still feel like a newbie sometimes. So I was excited to listen to WBUR producers discuss a new project “a series of guides that help people navigate the city, told through the people who live here.” The purpose of the guide is to help people feel more connected, find community, and enjoy the art and culture available to us in the area. I am thinking this could be a great resource to our students and families that are also new to the area.  
     
WHAT CAUGHT MY EYE
 
This past weekend I got to tag along with Sociedad Latinx and Spanish Club to curate an exciting weekend activity with opportunities to celebrate language, art, and food. We headed up to Lynn to get a bilingual tour of murals from Beyond Walls, a non-profit that “activates space to build communities.” After the mural tour, we went to enjoy a meal at Los Chamos, a local Venezuelan restaurant! Here are some of the students with chaperone and Spanish Club advisor, Ben Ibbetson. 

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The Cambridge School of Weston is a progressive high school for day and boarding students in grades 9–12 and PG. CSW's mission is to provide a progressive education that emphasizes deep learning, meaningful relationships, and a dynamic program that inspires students to discover who they are and what their contribution is to their school, their community and the world.