Sometimes a table is more than just a table…

One of our High School students built a table. At least, he thought he had built a table…

His table was the outcome of something called the Eagle Scout Project. It requires the kind of skills that you take with you through life: planning, developing, leading others, and demonstrating leadership in the service of the community. To demonstrate these skills, he built the table you see above that now sits in the garden on the other side of the bamboo bridge on the Gavea Campus. He built it to give teachers and students a place to learn outside, in the garden.

Though some may see it as “just a table” (and a very good one it is too), what he did was far more than construct a (not-so) simple, well-made piece of furniture. Whether he meant to or not, he built a symbol.

The table represents two things that seem to me to be deeply important, both as an educator and as a parent:

1. That we all have a duty to the communities in which we live to enhance the experiences of others. 

2. That building something –  constructing, adding value – is far more meaningful and fulfilling than destroying or tearing down.

I don’t for one minute think that he had all this in mind when he decided to build his table, though I like to think he had an inkling that his table had value. You see, our society is only improved if we each commit to actions that improve it. There are a lot of people in this world who say they can make tables, who could make tables, and who say they might one day make tables. But how many go on to actually make that table?

I hope that those who enjoy using the table, and who know how it was made, consider that they too can do something to make their community a better place.

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