Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Thoughts from the Air

Couldn't sleep last night. Found myself flipping through a journal full of entries from previous Davis Academy Israel trips. Many of the pages are filled with "life lessons." Sometimes, when life experiences are particularly resonant, I find it helpful to make lists. So, I've got lists of life lessons from previous Israel trips. That's because The Davis Academy Israel trip is basically a series of awesome experiences one after another. All the meanings, gleanings, and stuff is best deposited in safe place like a journal.

Tikabel ("Receive"), Tel Aviv Graffiti 2016

As a way of starting the gentle process of anticipating what kinds of life lessons your child might stumble upon as they experience Israel, here are 18 (a nice Jewish number!) lessons I've learned on previous Israel trips. They're in no particular order and maybe not even particularly insightful. But still, I'm grateful to Israel and the many students and chaperones I've travelled with over the years for evoking this learning within me.

If you've gleaned life lessons from Israel, travel more generally, or through other life experiences, feel free to share them here so that they can further inform the conversation on this blog.

Here are some of the life lessons that stand out to me on the threshold of this adventure:

1. To truly listen I have to stop thinking about how I will respond.
2. Room 111 being next to room 115 only makes sense in Israel.
3. "Survival" and "living" are two different things.
4. Everyone loves a playground.
5. Experienced from the balcony, mornings are a symphony.
6. Kindness and wisdom are interwoven.
7. We should all make a pilgrimage at some point in our lives.
8. Expressing gratitude increases ones awareness of all there is to be grateful for.
9. If the world weren't broken we'd find a way to break it. That's because human beings need to fix brokenness-- it's a central component of our humanity.
10. Age and experience put us at ease when discussing bodily functions.
11. Angels often come in the most unexpected and banal of forms.
12. When the mundane things in life build bridges between people then they are no longer mundane but rather holy.
13. Feet retain memory.
14. Dancing burns more calories than fighting.
15. People aren't addicted to sugar as much as we are addicted to sweetness.
16. Intentional small acts of loving kindness are even better than random ones.
17. Stories live longer than people.
18. Everything tastes better when shared.

I called this post "thoughts from the air" for two reasons. First, many of you who read it will do so while your children are on their flight to New York and/or Israel. Second, I haven't looked at or thought about this particular journal full of Israel reflections in at least a couple of years. It's as if all of the words on those pages appeared out of thin air. If I hadn't written them down I would have absolutely no way of accessing these and other thoughts. That's certainly a reason to hope that your child keeps a good journal during their time in Israel!

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