Let's start with what reflections are not...
1. It's not a summary. Don't get caught up in the 'what you did'. A step by step blow of event is not a reflection, it's a summary. "The first day was hot. It was so hot I had to stop and drink water a lot, I mean it was Africa hot. I tried to work, but I was just so hot." So, in short - a summary is not a reflection
2. It's not written about someone else or something else other than you. It's not a story or lesson about someone else. If you find yourself writing in the third person... start over. "It was really sad how that one guy lost his house. I hope he gets a new one. I think if he works really hard, it will work out." - This is not a reflection. It's a story about someone else.
3. It's not a wish or a desire. "I wish there would have been more diarrhea medicine, cause I really had to stay close to the toilet. I was like, what? How did this happen?"
4. It's not about what was taught or the intention of what you were supposed to learn. "Today we learned about leadership and how to be a leader. It was really good information and I think everyone should be a leader, cause then we would all be leading and that would be good."
5. It's not about what you hoped you'd be doing. "I really wanted to sit play with the kids all day long because it was so much fun. They have so much energy."
None of these examples are reflections.
Let's look at what a reflection really is.
It's about you.
It's about you taking the T I M E to think, ponder, wonder, examine, evaluate, ruminate,
...consider how something, someone, something impacted you.
How, when, where, what changed you?
Changed how you: think, feel, act, react.
Changed your perceptions, your sense of entitlement, poverty, leadership, helping, collaborating...
Changed how you view your world, life, people, money, things.
Made you feel more.... confident, grateful, sad, hopeful, inspired, confused...
For every reflection written, this is what is required. You must dig a little deeper and present something
R E A L
Here is some REAL Examples from former InSite students:
InSite Leadership Training 1 "What is an Everyday Leader”?
This lesson was the first leadership lesson I had ever had. I had never experienced something that was so related to others and eventually also us. I very much enjoyed it! In the beginning of class we got an explanation on what leading is. Shawna introduced us to the subject, Ms Hanna helped her and we all participated in a great way. We played a game and this helped us warming up. I think it is very good to do exercises with each other. I feel like my pupils and I might not have enough concentration after a full day of school to also sit and write and discuss. This means I think it helps to do these games, or exercises, which require somewhat activity. This makes the energy feel better in the room. We had to think of words of which would help with being a leader.
The whole lesson gave me such a positive boost, now more than after class. After class I just felt heavy because the ‘crossing the line game’ can get to me at times. I see that this course, the InSite team can be able of doing such great things together. I see that in all of us there is a soft spot, only we need to learn how to handle them in a positive way.
To be a leader is something new to me, I might have been team leader for assignments or sports, but never leading everyday. To me it is doing what ever is best for others and yourself. So helping others but also myself. By doing Insite and by going to SA I feel like I will become a great leader. I think that we must not loose the companionate side of leading though, it shouldn’t be an overwhelming and overpowering effect on people. That is simply invasion of privacy. Being a leader to me is having enough knowledge on how humans work, and how to help yourself and others. Even though taking responsibility is confronting I feel like it is a must, by looking back or thinking twice it helps me to see my flaws and work on myself. Compassion is something I treasure, my family is very understanding and over the years we have grown together and individually. This helps me respecting ‘others’, I have never found something weird. I have had weird thoughts and bad experiences, so I get why things happen, which doesn’t mean that it is ok, as long as you reflect.
I am truly thankful for this opportunity; it will bring me closer to myself and to others. By doing this I am learning and gaining knowledge about various aspects of myself and others.
Example #2 Hope
It seemed like the unending pile of rubble we where clearing only got bigger as we removed trashcan after trashcan filled with debris. Broken planks, silverware and buckets, ripped clothes and metal planks were everywhere. Burned illegible books, schoolbooks, and magazines and even a broken clothing iron littered the immense pile of junk. Everything was broken or burned. It especially saddens me to see burned books. Information, knowledge lost forever. In my world books are almost sacred.
We had been digging, pulling, carrying, for hours with the locals without seeing anything that was not broken when suddenly I saw a book lying at my feet covered in muck but seemingly complete. As I picked it up I realized it was the bible coverless but otherwise whole. I am not a Christian but still I marveled at the wonder of it, the only complete and whole object in the pile was a book of praise and prayer. I showed the man working next to me the bible. He gasped and said: “that was my bible, I lost everything in the fire” To my question if he wanted it back he replied: “No it is my old bible from my old life. I have a new bible now, to help my new life. I want you to keep my old bible and every time you look in it remember this place, remember Enkanini.” He had so much hope for the future, despite all the hardship of his past. That evening as we left Enkanini some women started singing, a prayer. As the beautiful, precious music wafted to the heavens I thought about all the smiles we had brought, all the effort serve the city and locals had put into making Enkanini a better place. I had truly seen hope rise up from the township and it was wonderful.