As we look to increase the voices shared in the TSS blog, we will begin to have more guest writers each week. This week’s blog is written by TSS staff member and Mountain Academy parent Ingrid Daffner Krasnow.
Our family moved to Jackson in 2012 when my husband, Kevin, took a faculty position in the TSS Graduate Program. With his freshly minted PhD and our 18-month-old daughter in tow, we left our northern California home of 20 years to start a new chapter. Kevin’s colleagues — who would soon become friends — welcomed us to the faculty housing on the TSS Kelly Campus. Invitations for shared meals and toddler-friendly adventures soon followed. Each gesture demonstrated a generosity of spirit that existed around us; an ecosystem of giving and friendship into which we would integrate surely and slowly over the years.
When it came time to send our daughter (and later our son) to school, we faced hard choices. The local public schools are excellent, and offer a rich learning experience and wide social networks at all grade levels. Mountain Academy (then Journeys School) was equally appealing, offering unique opportunities for our kids to grow as individuals, as learners, and as members of a nurturing community. Our children have enjoyed time in several different schools over the years, and we are grateful for everything they have gleaned from each.
They are both currently at Mountain Academy — in first and fifth grade, respectively — and they continue to thrive. One aspect of the Mountain Academy education that continues to impress me is that of giving back, of helping out, pitching in, wherever needed. For students, this can look like checking in with a friend who is hurt, or “Hands to Work” – daily housekeeping to keep common spaces clean and tidy, or completing projects that enable students and classrooms to understand and support our local communities.
In addition to academics, teachers prioritize teaching students the importance of generosity every day, in the classroom and in the field. This thought from the University of Notre Dame’s Science of Generosity project reminds me of many of the values that Mountain Academy (and TSS in general) embody:
“Generosity thus conceived is a learned character trait that involves attitude and action—entailing both the inclination and actual practice of giving liberally. Generosity is not a haphazard behavior but a basic orientation to life. … Generosity also involves giving not just anything, but rather those things that are good for others. What exactly generosity gives can vary: money, possessions, time, attention, aid, encouragement, emotional availability, and more. But it always intends to enhance the true wellbeing of the receiver.”
The annual Mountain Academy CommUnity Campaign is another one of the ways we model generosity for our students. While of course there are financial goals that help the school provide incredible experiences for our children, the larger goal of the campaign is 100% family participation. That means that any gift, large or small, counts toward the goal. If we do our job well, at the end of the campaign we get to celebrate with our children that every family contributed, and the more important lesson that each and every one of us must help to create a strong community.
If you are a Mountain Academy family and haven’t given to the campaign yet this year (or even if you are not and you are moved to give!), please do so by this Friday, October 22. Thank you for helping us model generosity on campus and at home.
We’ve since moved from the Kelly Campus housing, but our community feels stronger than ever. I am grateful for the many gifts we have received over the years, and the many opportunities we have had to give back, through sharing meals, volunteering in the classroom, donating our favorite books and toys, or pitching in to raise money for new technology, student journeys or schoolwide special events. Mostly, I am grateful to TSS for creating such a strong ecosystem of giving, and that we get to be a part of it.