Dear Boundless Families:
If the reader will allow a meandering river of gratitude, I would like to express some to a number of shady characters that call themselves Boundless students, and to everyone else who supports this place.
To Quiche. Thank you for not stealing my sunglasses. Yesterday, in flight of reason, I responded favourably to your request to borrow them.
“Why? I asked. “Because they look so boss,” you said.
And then you slapped them on your ears, and tried to get through the front door of the Wolf Centre but couldn’t because your chest swelled to unmanageable proportions. The glasses are knock-offs, silly young man. But sure enough, you returned them to my desk, who’s door shall always be open to you. I watched you lead the Truth and Reconciliation Ceremony. You got us thinking. You got us remembering. Tristan and Jack, especially, were silent and solemn and respectful and engaged.
To Sarah: When I hear you speak, I melt. Your voice has been hidden for so long. Now I see it creeping its way up your esophagus, soon to spew forth into the sweet ether of community. I’ve exchanged a total of 100 words with you, but they have been among the most meaningful this year. Yesterday you whispered to me that Marisol is your best buddy up here.
To Laura: I watch you sit amongst us. You are not used to this. But your DNA is wired. You are primed. I see how we amuse you sometimes, and how we beguile you. We are drawing you in. You are letting us. This blows me away.
Tristan: Look, I am not your personal chocolate dispensary. You can’t just walk into my office every second asking me the most random questions about nothing so you can escape class. I think about the people who stand behind you. I am grateful to them for putting up with you. Now I get why they do it. You honour me with your nonsense.
Kawan: Lisa and I are coming to your birthday party tonight. There is much to celebrate. You have looked dazed sometimes. Coming out of your cave wasn’t easy, and I know the light of the world can be blinding. But I am awed by you. And by how quickly you learned our handshake from the 70’s. I tried teaching it to someone else but you wouldn’t let me. I can live with that actually.
Liam – You do mock me. No, I am not going to lose Boundless money at a Las Vegas casino. Yes, dear gentle giant, you are taller. No you scoundrel, I am not hoarding chocolate. The brightness you bring to this little school is so blinding I need to reach for my sunglasses. But Quiche stole them, dammit.
Isaiah – thank you for our chat the other day, dreaming about what your future is going to look like. I know you are graduating in just three weeks and that can be unsettling. You have done this school proud man. I lost count of your opportunities that we discussed.
Lilly of the Valley – Some days you are Urban Lilly, while others you are a Valley Girl. Every day you are so warm, so I don’t care who you are. I just care about the kindness and verve you bring to our group. You are special.
I could go on about each and every student, but I must honour my own ADHD.
I want to close with a brief story about my time with the class two nights ago. My mission was to have the group explore the meaning of sacrifice. Both self-sacrifice and sacrifice for others.
At the evening’s conclusion, each student answered two questions. 1) What did you sacrifice to be here? and 2) Why?
Every one of your kids turned eloquent and sincere and earnest. Parents, your kids know exactly why they have given up so many of their freedoms, passions and support systems to travel 320km to the middle of nowhere. Their tradeoff is the state of focus. They like being in the game again. They like feeling weird and not being judged for it.
As such, they are learning crucial lessons. Self-Indulgence leads to decay. Overcoming hurdles brings learning and a fleeting sense of bliss. Being with people trumps everything.
And so I give my thanks to what the Hindu’s call Maya, or the divine drama. We see it play out, delightfully, up here at Boundless. I offer my thanks to you parents for your faith in letting your children be with us. And finally to the staff and teachers here who model what sacrifice actually looks like. They too give up a lot to work here. Modeling is the very best form of teaching. We have the very best models at Boundless.
Thanks to you all.