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What’s In a Name?

Category : Latest Blogs , Most Visited

The naming of a school

Having moved to South Africa from the UK in September 2007, Phil and I have now lived here for over 14 years.  Our ‘story’ started with establishing a city wide network which would become the Non Profit Organisation Soul Action South Africa.  From the very beginning Soul Action has always been about how our faith informs our actions – and vice versa – about how we respond best to what God is revealing.

Over this last three years, as we focused on establishing a quality, diverse and affordable model of education – to address inequality and segregation in society – we have struggled to name the school.  We have not been able to come up with a name that summarises the school’s ethos, values and habits (Phil has a list of at least 300 possible names!).

So why not ‘Soul Action School’?

As I (Rachel) listen to the children during daily group meeting times, the essence of who they are – their ‘soul’ – the spiritual element is so evident.  The children naturally bring their faith in to normal everyday conversations.  As we explored ‘Heroes’ early this year (22.02.22), I asked the question, ‘When you hear the word hero, what does it makes you think?’ 

I was expecting the children to talk about Wonder Woman, Spiderman, Black Panther or Batman, but instead they replied to the provocation by sharing about their faith.  In response to this initial conversation, all the children were invited to record their own understanding of heroes.  To support the children to reflect, they were asked to look at what they had collectively recorded and share what it made them think and / or wonder.  Again they conversation focused on their understanding of God.

The children’s faiths go far beyond what they say.  They are ready, willing and able to put their faith into action.  As we moved to thinking about how they can be an everyday hero, the children shared (02.03.22):

MC I can be an everyday hero by helping my sister

PN I can be an everyday hero by helping people with their work

AM I can be an everyday hero by helping people that are hurt

SJ I can be an everyday hero by helping my friends

KN I can be an everyday hero by helping people so they can be safe + sound

RB I wonder how you can do that, have a think

DZ  I can be an everyday hero by making sure people don’t get hurt

JN I can be an everyday hero by bringing joy to people when they are sad

BS   I can be an everyday hero by being kind

LM I can be an everyday hero by standing up for people being bullied

IM I can be an everyday hero by looking after people.

As Phil and I observe the children interacting with one another, they naturally consider others within their school community and beyond. 

Community is important, feelings are important, the other is important.  At the end of our first term, we took time to reflect, I asked the question (18.03.22): ‘What have you learnt?’  Alongside the cognitive elements, the children shared how they are developing socially and emotionally – the ways in which they interact with one another are an outworking of their faith.  As they connect with one another, their environment and with God, these remarkable children are observing, engaging with and changing the spaces that they are part of, daily.

And so, we ask ourselves: why wouldn’t we call the school ‘Soul Action’?

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