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Tea Club and a Merrier World
  • Community
  • Formation
  • Literature
Erin Robleto

On one Monday afternoon a month, I sense a tangible joy among a certain group of students. The contagious thrill is present because it’s a tea club meeting day! The girls and even a few boys gather around as we unpack my bone china tea cups that were used when the tea club first started up. The students are even beginning to ask, “What can I do to help?” 

Out come the best after-school snacks of the month! Savory sandwiches, scones, treats, and of course, tea choices galore. Cloth placemats are set, and then the students pick the cup pattern that suits them for the day. The students show their brave hearts, or perhaps brave taste buds, by trying a new kind of tea. I notice the spicy chai versions are not as popular as the fruity ones, but the enjoyment of the food and atmosphere is fully appreciated by all who come.

It has been a true honor to step into sponsoring the tea club along with Nurse Townley. I decided to do a little research about what “tea club” was like when my daughter, Grace, and two friends asked to have tea club meetings on campus a few years ago. I wanted to be consistent with the aspects that were enjoyed before. I asked Grace what they used to do at the tea club (before clubs were put on hiatus due to the pandemic). She replied with a shrug, “It’s simple, Mom. We drank tea, ate, and talked. Sometimes we read."

Ruminating over the benefits, and perhaps, deeper meaning of tea parties, I decided that the best part of tea parties is the time they carve out for friendship. Couldn’t we all use more time and space to grow in friendship and develop the trust needed to confide in another? All of these aspects of friendship can bloom through the venue of an afternoon tea.  While the tea steeps, there is time to ask about how things are going for the person in front of you. While waiting for the tea to cool to the proper temperature, we can nibble tasty bites. Relishing good food lends us an opportunity to practice manners and light conversation as well. A tea party provides us with the time to enjoy, settle in, and talk. We can become better friends while holding dainty cups and consuming some of the wonderful things in life. 

In our planning of the tea club reboot, Grace also reminded me of a part in The Hobbit when Thorin is making his final amends to Bilbo before he passes away. As a dwarf who has prized treasure above all else in life, he concedes that the ways of the hobbits, who enjoy food and merriment, have great wisdom. 

He says to Bilbo, “There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food, and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

I think the girls and boys who come to the tea club exhibit this hobbit-like spirit. It is my hope that they will all find that along with etiquette rules, card games, poems, and the tea snacks themselves, they are making a merrier world right here at The Saint Constantine School by enjoying rich moments and growing in friendship.