We said goodbye to our Semester 40 students on Saturday. As we circled up one last time on Cabin 7 Field before their final send off I shared the following letter with the assembled families:
On Orientation day when we first circled up together on this field, I shared the poem “On Children” by Kahlil Gibran, which starts like this:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you
And nor do they belong to us, though we too love them dearly. As we circled around a fire representing Semester 40, your children shared what they are taking away from this experience. They shared the person they are becoming, or perhaps have always been, but are just now unmasking. Adjectives like selfless, confident, strong, creative, resilient, loved and wild floated through the warm night and rested on nouns that included thinker, friend, activist, adventurer, traveler, dreamer and leader.
It has been such an honor to greet each day of the last four months with your sons and daughters. To paddle the nearby rivers and climb the nearby rocks. To hike through these ancient mountains. To sing together. To work side by side. To share meals and deep, thoughtful discussions. To circle up and give thanks together, everyday.
The story of these moments can be told a thousand ways. Listen for it in the song your son sings. Watch for it in the way your daughter takes in the sunset. Taste it in the food your child cooks. Encourage your children to retrieve the story of their time here, and to allow it to infuse their life going forward. And if they despair at the loss of OA, gently remind them, that they don’t actually need OA to be the phenomenal young men and women that they are. And please hug them for us–we will miss them so much, but we are excited for their journey ahead.
The Semester 40 OA Staff