We’re finding inspiration from great leaders this month in the seventh and eighth grade at Mack.
As part of our study of the Mauya and Gupta Indian Empires, our students explored the ways that great leaders acquired and used power and were eventually transformed by their experiences. One inspiring example was Ashoka, who rose to power around 268 B.C. After conquering a neighboring kingdom with great violence and bloodshed, Ashoka, horrified with the destruction he had wrought, changed entirely and brought the peaceful and tolerant message of Buddhism to all his empire. This ancient history lesson and the questions it raised about personal transformation and positive uses of power dovetailed nicely with class discussions inspired by Nelson Mandela’s death. Here are a sampling of eighth grade student journals. We hope you’ll find them as inspiring as we did:
Nelson Mandela’s power came from his reputation and keeping his cool. He never got mad in the prison to a guard…. His power was built not by proving he was better, but my showing everyone that anyone can make it big, every human is created equal. He didn’t hold a grudge; he forgave and healed emotional traumas.
Nelson Mandela used his power to try and gain freedom and rights for Africans. He started with peaceful protests, and when that failed, some war-like protests. Then he was captured and educated those in prison who followed him, and he gave them hope and taught others to give hope.
Mandela started out fighting physically but found that he could help South Africa much more by fighting peacefully.