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The student news site of Harwood Union Middle/High School in South Duxbury, Vermont

Common Ground

The student news site of Harwood Union Middle/High School in South Duxbury, Vermont

Common Ground

Socrates Cafe Winter 2023: What does it mean to live with regret?

Photo Credit: Luke Hamel
The sign that welcomed participants to the Socrates Cafe at Harwood Union High School on December 7th.

On Thursday, Dec. 7th from 5 to 7 p.m., Harkness Leadership put on a Socrates Cafe in the library revolving around the guiding question: What does it mean to live with regret? 

A Socrates Cafe is an open discussion where people share their experiences about a philosophical question. The discussion is meant to leave you with more questions than answers. 

Typically, Harkness Leadership, taught by Mr. Sargent, puts on two Socrates Cafes per year, one in the late fall/early winter and the other in the spring. During Covid, they couldn’t have them because of the shutdown and regulations. 

This year the students in Harkness Leadership have greatly impressed Mr. Sargent. “They have really come together and they have taken initiative on a lot of leadership opportunities… They are willing to step into leadership roles and that speaks a lot about their character.”

This year, it felt like everyone there genuinely wanted to be there and was eagerly anticipating sharing their thoughts. Once Mr. Sargent gave them the cue, members of Harkness Leadership called everyone together to explain what a Socrates Cafe is. After this, they split up into three different groups each with other members of Harkness Leadership facilitating.

In the small groups, the facilitators had everyone state their name and why they came. After this, they gave us a question to turn and talk with someone about. Once they brought us back into the main group they asked if anyone had anything to share and after multiple people spoke the facilitators opened the discussion for people to take it wherever people wanted to go. The discussion was not confined to a text.

Whenever the group got off subject, the facilitators would reel it back in with a probing question based on the guiding question. The discussion seemed very beneficial to everyone there and everyone was left with more questions along with answers. 

The group that I was in spent most of the discussion discussing whether regret can be beneficial and how we can deal with regret if it becomes an issue. Because of this discussion, I realized that regret is how people learn but only if we don’t get stuck on it and decide to change. You have to make a conscious decision to learn from your experiences in order to accomplish anything in life. 

This discussion was a great reminder for me about how things are and I highly suggest if you’re thinking of going to the spring Socrates Cafe to go. If you have any questions about the Socrates Cafes or you want to learn more, email Adam Sargent ([email protected]) or stop by his classroom to chat!

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