Wishes for the World

Young Round Square is a consortium of schools with students under age 15 that aspire to Round Square‘s IDEALS. At last year’s Young Round Square conference in Ontario, student delegates decided they wanted to have a Unity Day that all Young Round Square schools would participate in.  The first Unity Day was today; like students at sister schools across the country, Athenian middle schoolers hung Tibetan prayer flags that they had created with their wishes for the world.

Tibetan Prayer Flags

Watch Dani Oswood, Athenian Physical Education Director and Young Round Square representative, describe the evolution of Unity Day and this year’s project of designing and hanging Tibetan prayer flags.

Fern Hill School, a sister YRS school, created this description of the project:

A Young Round Square school wide project:  All students will create a series of prayer flags to share their wishes for the world.
What is a Tibetan prayer flag? Traditionally, prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The flags do not carry prayers to ‘gods,’ rather the Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all-pervading space. Therefore, prayer flags are thought to bring benefit to all. By hanging flags in high places the “Wind Horse” will carry the blessings depicted on the flags to all beings. As wind passes over the surface of the flags, which are sensitive to the slightest movement of the wind, the air is purified and sanctified by the Mantras. The prayers of a flag become a permanent part of the universe as the images fade from exposure to the elements. Just as life moves on and is replaced by new life, Tibetans renew their hopes for the world by continually mounting new flags alongside the old. This act symbolizes a welcoming of life changes and an acknowledgment that all beings are part of a greater ongoing cycle. Tibetan prayer flags are used by Buddhists to send prayers and blessings throughout the world. Each flag contains writing and images that are meant to be generate peace and good wishes.
Purpose: Tibetan prayer flags are now used to send prayers of good will into the world as well as bring prosperity and good fortune into a home. They have been in use for several thousand years.
Types of Flags: The two basic categories of Tibetan prayer flags are dar-ding and darchen. Dar-ding flags are raised horizontally between two objects and have a color sequence. Darchen flags are flown vertically on a pole.
Flag Layout: Tibetan prayer flags must be hung in the proper order. From left to right, the colors are blue, white, red, green and yellow. The colors symbolize sky, cloud, fire, water and earth.
Symbols:Most flags have symbols and a mantra, or saying, imprinted upon them. Symbols include the tiger, lion, garuda (a bird-like creature), dragon, horse, umbrella, fish, vase, lotus flower, white conch, knot of life, banner of victory and wheel of dharma. Each symbol and mantra has a specific meaning.

Madagascar in My Heart

In addition to today’s Unity activity, the Middle School will participate in a fundraiser for Madagascar in My Heart, an organization started by one of the YRS representatives.  Madagascar in My Heart works to provide computers and basic computing skills to poor regions of Madagascar.  Dani describes the “Toddler to Teacher” fundraiser the school will participate in:

This video is from Madagascar in My Heart: http://madagascarinmyheart.org/malagasy-angels/