Detention and the Labyrinth

Friday night was my turn to cover detention. I had about seven boys and three girls. Since I’m the assistant dining hall head, we cleaned the dining hall first. Then we went to the labyrinth, the one I’ve been working on, on and off, for more than a year.

a photograph of a labyrinth, with numerous stones both low and high, in a grassland.
a view of the labyrinth on campus

They helped me finish another ring around the outside. They helped clear some weeds and clarify a few sight lines. They stood with me as I explained the sunset-tracking functions of this Stone Age computer. And with a combination of work and study, they learned as much as you can learn about a labyrinth without building one yourself.

I’m not a big fan of punishment or discipline. I suppose there’s a need for it. But I hate that schools must be its enforcers. Last Sunday a group of students were rowdy in chapel, so my colleague marched them all out of the chapel, and then back in. It was … breathtaking in its damage to the spiritual life of this community.

I like to think my work project was constructive and useful to someone other than me.

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One comment

  1. […] I’ve considered the construction of this labyrinth the start of my serious work as a magician, an artist, and a designer. It was the basis of my most important "paperless Friday" post, and it cropped up time and again in other posts over the next year or so, including an occasion when it was an opportunity to teach kids to build their own labyrinth, even though they were supposed to be serving a detention. […]

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