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I'm proud to be a Beluga Grad!

Raised in a compassion-based family, I was homeschooled and often found myself the "outsider" when spending time with "normal kids". To me, your music represented someone outside our family who thought the same way, who believed what we did and even at a young age, I recognized how important that sense of camaraderie and fellowship was.

I am so happy, as an adult, to find you again and find that same fellowship. A deep sense of respect and honouring has always accompanied my work with children ultimately resulting in me quitting two different jobs that I loved because the powers that be did not support my vision that children should be treated equally and empathetically. Frustrated with the "that's how it is" mentality surrounding the treatment of children, I am now a doctoral student working to explore empathy, power and relationships within education systems with the intent of understanding more about how we interact with children in traditional and alternative school settings. My career goal is to make the world of children a little brighter, a little warmer and a lot more self-empowered.

When confronted with a conflict, a confrontation or a conundrum, one of my favourite problem solving tools is to use compassion, for others and myself, and try to understand the motives and needs truly involved in the situation. I've been told my compassion-centred living is a naive "rose-coloured-glasses" hippy approach that can't work in the "real world" and that it's a weakness but they're wrong. It is my greatest strength. The only proof I need? Here I am, thirty years old and living a successful life that I love free from most of the hate, anger, frustration and complacency that lurks in the shadows of my friend's lives.

Compassion and empathy are my benchmarks for behaviour, decisions and actions. How will this affect others? How will this affect me? These questions, when asked openly and honestly, have never failed to solve any problem I've faced. Not that I'm always that pleased with the direction they send me, sometimes it would be a lot easier to go the other way and, to be honest, sometimes I do. But in order to be happy, in order to be myself, in order to be the person I want to be in this world, they remain at the core of everything I do.

I firmly believe that if we spent as much time in schools on empathy, compassion, emotional intelligence and personal development as we do on discipline, order, regulation and busy work, we'd have a world that worked for everyone, not just those in power.

Thank you for everything you do and everything you've done to make this world a little more child-friendly.

Looking forward to see where your work takes you
Amy Chapeskie

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