One of the responsibilities I enjoy most in my role at The Davis Academy is leading our annual 8th grade Israel trip. I’ve literally just come home from the airport after two extraordinary weeks chaperoning 68 8th grade students along with several other colleagues. For a comprehensive chronicle of our experiences you can read my daily blog posts on The Davis Academy’s Menschlichkeit Blog. Here I’ll quickly try to capture a few life lessons from the trip.

1) There’s no blessing greater than good health.

2) It’s possible to ward off dehydration with soda and juice.

3) I can now imagine a world where 68 8th graders schlep more than 1,500 chocolate bars 1/2 way across the globe.

4) Trust is built only through relationships.

5) You’re either on the bus or you aren’t.

6) People come first, everything else comes after.

7) There’s no way to plan for every contingency.

8) The sacred can and does intrude on the mundane without a moment’s notice.

9) There are times when history demands greatness. There are times when greatness shapes history.

10) Jerusalem is a great teacher.

11) No two people have the same story.

12) In true community voices are shared not primarily for the benefit of the speaker, but for the benefit of the group.

13) Meter maids are the same everywhere.

14) The truest test of character comes when no one is watching.

15) How one approaches an inconveniently lengthy layover says a lot about how one approaches life more generally.

16) It always feels good to have your expectations surpassed.

17) Living across the street from a great coffee shop is a thing of beauty.

18) Sometimes bonfires are best without the fire.

19) We may not be ready to leave but we’re usually ready to come home.

20) Wisdom resides in being able to make meaning of life experience while its happening and in being able to appreciate that experience whatever it may be.

Life Lessons– 2015 Israel Trip