Student Reflections: Metanoia with Amal Kassir

Last week, spoken word poet and activist Amal Kassir joined us for Metanoia. Team Fink wrote some reflections and responses to Amal’s visit.

Amal at Metanoia

Don’t be afraid to be the elephant in the room. This was my biggest take away. Embrace who you are and be the best you can be. I thought that Amal was so inspiring because she embraces the elephant and even though at some points she felt worthless she got right back up. “I believe that peace is something you can find even during war time” I also love this quote spoken by her because she believe that there is hope in the dark. Like the kids in the war zone they made the beauty in brokenness.  –Alli

I am the elephant and I stand out but you hide in the corner hoping not to be judged. I embrace the elephant but you run from someone even noticing you. Do you like being the elephant someone asks me? How do you become the elephant someone asks me. I Say, “To find the elephant within yourself you need to go to the place that is most uncomfortable for you and figure out why it is uncomfortable.” I take all your judgment in but you long to be the same as everyone else, but I don’t care because I am the best elephant that I can be. I don’t care because black or white, male or female we are people. –Lauren

All of our hearts beat to a similar rhythm. Wisdom sings into all of our rhythms and pumps life into souls. Wisdom speaks to those who have a hijab around their head. Wisdom speaks to those that have more melanin coursing in their skin. Wisdom even speaks to those who pray a little different than you. Wisdom speaks to you. Wisdom speaks to all. Amal showed this to me today. She showed me that we are not that different from each other. The only thing that makes us different is the way we think. The way we act. But these differences are essential. Your differences may make you seem as an elephant, but it takes an elephant to change the world. It takes someone different from the rest. Our hearts beat to a similar rhythm but it is the different tempos that change the world. It is the different beats that define you. –Macie

Even in the foggy skyscrapers and the thundering ground I will stand tall with strong feet and rise above. I’ll Rise above all of the clouds that scare me. I’ll play in the shooting rain. We will come together hand and hand and rejoice. And the language through our feet will be our getaway. The laughter bursting out of our mouths will be our song. And the dirt on the ground will be our canvas. You are the creator in the storm. You are the hands that splash in the puddles. You will find the beauty in the brokenness. You will rise above.  –Charleigh

My biggest takeaway from Amal’s visit is when she spoke of little Syrian children making playgrounds out of war zones… finding light in darkness… discovering beauty in brokenness. If young children in war torn nations can turn two tank barrels into swing set posts and form finger paints out of dirty water, then could not we turn our own war zones into swing sets? –Jackson

Elephants are in the room and elephants are even in you. Be the person that stands out into the crowd. Embrace your beauty of the elephant because you can’t unelephant yourself. Get to know someone by simply asking their name and about their family. Amal said “The elephant is the person holding a mirror to the world”. If someone is judging you, it’s not because of you and if you think it is then you need to hold up a mirror to show yourself. You can be the change by getting out of your comfort zone.”History was never made when people were comfortable.” Even if your in a battle find the beauty in the brokenness. It takes an elephant to change the world.  –Maddie

There is a elephant deep in side me. It longs to come out. To breathe the open air without being judged. It wants to come out, but I bury it deep inside me. I forget about the Elephant I once was. The Elephant I wish to be. Fear stops me. It claws and scratches my heart, refusing to let go. I live my life, hiding who I am and being the person you think I am. One day the scratching stops, an my heart starts to heal. I try to dig deep inside myself to find my Elephant. But I can not. It is buried deep in my heart. I can not find it. I scratch and rip up my heart once more. This time I don’t think I can heal. But I try. So I travel, throughout the world. Searching for the part of that I ripped in two. I find myself in a village full of children. They scream, laugh, and play. Their dirty feet kicking flat soccer balls. I get on my knees and ask one of the little boys his name. He tells me, “I don’t know my name.” My heart leaps, and I feel it start to heal. Let me write my own story, and give me the glory in being who I want to be.
–Makayla Au

What Amal had shared was outstanding she took my understanding on society to a deeper level. I am now starting my path to be an elephant, my strength is growing. Let’s turn every bad thing into a swing set. Amal is a blessing from God to be able to stand out of the crowd and be the rebellion. –Mitch

What was the best part of your day (Amal Kassir). Bad always has good you just have to dig deep to find it. Some times you feel like nothing but the world has something to find your self in. Amal tot us to always found the good in bad situation. When you lack confidence to be the elephant in the room, the difference maker, the different person than the rest then look to find it. Your elephantness comes through you find confidence in it. Be the change.  –Noelle

The main takeaway I took when Amal visited, was her futbol analogy. How she explained soccer is the one sport that the children enjoy. The one sport that takes away the sadness, and replaces it with the words of feet. With the words of goal. With the words of celebration. Where one of the greatest celebrations World Cup, comes to them. Where they feel like they are the super country. Where they can be alive, and live each moment with the words of their feet. That in time of death, and problems, and where they are living in WWIII. The cure is a simple game of futbol. A simple game of goal. A simple game of celebration. A simple game of feet. A simple game that depletes death, and bombs, and guns, and all sorts of weapons. A simple game where they only objective is for the ball or can to go pasts two poles. That give you the freedom to say goal. That give you the freedom of celebration. That give you the language of feet.  –Jack

Be the voice of those without the voice, be an elephant in the room and embrace it, nourish it. Amal is an amazing women, her words flow so poetically and her message is powerful. She told us about how kids build swings and games out of a war zone and how no matter what they still play soccer everywhere. If we still play soccer in the midst of war, hope is present; this universal language of soccer translates into love and community and hope. Amal inspired me to become the elephant in a room and speak not only what I feel, but what the world feels. I hope to absorb her confidence and use it in life; I wish to make people uncomfortable once in while and even become uncomfortable myself. Sharing my spoken word was also amazing because, like Amal said, there is so much power in writing, reading, and thinking for ourselves. I’m so honored to know such a phenomenal woman and to know that I can become a phenomenal woman myself.  –Megan

Metanoia 1: journey

metanoia (n) the journey of changing one’s mind, heart, self, or way of life

This morning David Smith joined us and shared the story of his own metanoia. Below are responses from Team Fink (Finksters) to our time with David this morning. Thank you David!

I really liked having David here today, he was very inspiring. It made me think that I can do anything with God. David was a drug addict, but when he came to know God, he started a photography business with his wife, and wrote poems, and talked to schools around the country. I really liked how he talked about you are not what other people say you are. You can be whatever you want to be. I really hope David can come and talk to us again this year.

I appreciated that he was very real. He told his story without hesitation and told it honestly. It’s so cool to hear his story, and his life’s progression from a troubled kid to a fantastic poet and speaker. It really inspired me to believe that no matter how much money, what situation, or bad choices that with God’s love, and faith in him, you can truly do anything and touch many lives. – Katie

David’s talk was touching because we all have a part in our life that gets messed up along the way. There are people in this world who are drop-outs and do drugs, but that does not mean they are bad people. The devil is watching us all the time; he comes to us when we least expect it. God is the only person that can fill our emptiness. I felt like David was trying tell us we all make mistakes and we can fix them.

When David came and spoke about his identity to us I really appreciated it.  It meant a bunch to me when he told us that his identity is a child of God because he was right. He was right because jobs and stuff we have are just in this world and temporary, but God is forever. I want to be like David and be a child of God.

I liked that David was truthful about what he said like he didn’t lie about doing bad things. I liked David because we was nice and very thankful for God and how God worked the future. Also liked listening to his story’s it Inspired me a lot because we sin and then we inspire to teach others about God I liked that he stayed on the right path and it’s kind of like Proverbs. – Mason

I really enjoyed the message because it reminded me of how God can bring us through hard times and use us in ways we never expected he would use us in. I also liked that David talked a lot about preaching with music and writing which are two things I’m very passionate about. Another thing I liked was the talk about identity and how we need to focus on being a child of God and that’s one of the things were currently talking a lot about in school. – Joseph

I really liked how he showed his life to us.  It was inspirational because it is hard to stop doing drugs and start a new life.  It was amazing how he said that Jesus kept him going through his life, Jesus never gave up on him.  His poems were super interesting.  I could have never written anything like that.  What I also liked was he used his gift and made it into an album he is following his legacy.  When he thought his life was pretty much done, Jesus came in and helped him go in the right direction. –McKensie

Thank you so much for your talk. I loved how inspiring you were, the whole thing was amazing. Now I know that I can face my problems a lot easier because of your example. Worrying about school pictures or other stuff seems so unimportant when there are real problems I don’t even know about. It truly inspired me and I’m thankful for you coming to our school. — Jacob

I really liked when you talked about going from a drug addict to a singer and a poet. I thought it was so cool how God used you to preach about your story. If you never did drugs and struggled with it, you wouldn’t have an amazing life story! It made me think, that during the bad times, I know that God still has a plan for me and you in the end. Your story really meant a lot to me. Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to tell us your story.  Angelina

I really enjoyed listening to David discussion. In the end of the video it said ” who are you” the first thing I thought about was our inquiry is who are we it’s good to think about people who aren’t in the school are still thinking about “who they are”