‘Tashi Deley:’ Fond du Lac community launches initiative on honoring others, celebrating differences
Posted on: Feb 23rd, 2021
Daphne Lemke Fond du Lac Reporter
FOND DU LAC – “Tashi Deley” is a Tibetan greeting that author Rebecca Braden, the Children’s Museum of Fond du Lac and Sophia Transformative Leadership Partners are using to encourage participants to celebrate the beauty of diversity.
Rather than “hello,” the saying (pronounced Taa-SHE Duh-LAY) translates to “I honor the greatness in you,” according to Braden’s children’s book, “Sanjaygawa and the Yak Whisperer.”
The Children’s Museum launched the Tashi Deley initiative as this month’s installment of its regular educational fun kits, but the message and impact will last long after February’s over.
The kit includes one copy of “Sanjaygawa and the Yak Whisperer” per household, plus one resource packet per child, which includes four written activity sheets and materials for a hands-on craft project.
The Tashi Deley initiative is offered in collaboration with Sophia Transformative Leadership Partners, a Fond du Lac nonprofit organization that guides local servant leaders — leaders whose philosophy is to serve their industry by sharing power and focusing on employees’ or members’ needs — with learning programs and tools.
“(Tashi Deley) really means, ‘I honor the place in you,’ where your hopes, your dreams, your love and your courage reside,” Braden said in an interview with Sophia Transformative Leadership Partners, published on its YouTube channel. “I honor that place in you, where if you’re in that place with you, and I’m in that place with me, then we’re one.”
Braden’s book tells the story of a young shepherdess in the Colorado Rockies that whispers “wonderings” to her yaks, and one day, she wonders something that prompts her favorite yak, Sanjaygawa, to finally answer her.
The yak encourages the shepherdess to teach the “Young Ones” to respect and honor the greatness in themselves and everyone around them, regardless of their differences.
Using this message, the Children’s Museum and local educators are encouraging the same in the community and beyond.
“Truly, change in this world starts with the children,” Marketing and Communications Manager Kelly Lamb said.
Kits are available at the Children’s Museum, 75 W. Scott St., from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, and from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
Additionally, Sophia Partners is hosting this month’s virtual Community of Practice sessions with Braden, including the Leaders do Lunch event at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, discussing the connection of “Tashi Deley” to servant leadership.
Registration is available at sophiapartners.org/events.
‘Tashi Deley’ will spread beyond February
The Children’s Museum and Sophia Partners were not unfamiliar with Braden and her book, as Braden had previously been a guest at Sophia Partners as a servant leader herself. The stars seemed to have aligned for this initiative to be launched now, Lamb said, when the community needs a reminder to honor the greatness in others.
The book is written as a “story of hope for Young Ones of all ages,” according to the title page, because its message is helpful to adults as well. As part of the initiative, parents are encouraged to read the book to their children and help them through the activities so that they also internalize the need to honor and celebrate the differences in others.
Beyond families, this initiative is coming to local classrooms as well, Lamb said. In a few pilot classrooms, partnering educators will implement the Tashi Deley activity kit curriculum in their lessons. From there, the initiative can adjust and expand into classrooms and children’s museums outside of Fond du Lac.
In a time when the Children’s Museum can’t host field trips and children aren’t able to go many places, the Tashi Deley activities allow for continued engagement in a creative way, especially since it ties strongly into the existing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative, Executive Director Andrea Welsch said.
The pilot classrooms include first- and third-grade classes at Mayville and Lomira elementary schools and St. Mary’s Springs Academy, as well as Treffert Way School for the Exceptional Mind. Participating educators can use the book and activities as a resource to supplement their curriculum goals.
Tiffany Dolan of Treffert Way is one of the participating educators, and will use the materials with her second- through fifth-graders during part of her morning advisory time.
“In class, we have recently been focusing on gratitude and happiness,” she said. “I think my students will enjoy the lessons, focusing on what makes others great and how we can help and honor others to find success and happiness.”
In the community, local “Activity Ambassadors” are also contributing through a series of interviews, each corresponding with one of the written activities, that will be streamed on the Children’s Museum’s Facebook page.
Braden is one of these ambassadors, and is joined by Keywon Brown, Fond du Lac Police Department’s Computer Forensic Investigator and founder of volunteer project Life Enforcement, which focuses on selfless acts of kindness to make a difference in the community.
Fond du Lac Literary Services Coordinator Juana Montes-Hernandez and local band Northsoul member Travis Worth will also lend their thoughts in inspiring the community to learn about recognizing and honoring the greatness in others.
“One thing children’s museums are known for in the community is teaching kids about social issues,” Welsch said. “Tashi Deley will inspire these kind of conversations.”
For anyone who can’t make it to the Children’s Museum this month, the activity sheets are available on cmfdl.org, alongside a recording of Braden reading “Sanjaygawa and the Yak Whisperer.”
Contact Daphne Lemke at 920-907-7968 or firstname.lastname@example.org.