John Lennon and Grandma Return to the Valley

by | Sep 15, 2022 | Blog

Dear Boundless Families:

Your lovely kids, and I do mean lovely, arrived safely yesterday. I had a brief session with them last night, and was dazzled by many first impressions.

Oh, the diversity of their hair! The tattoos. The careful introductory smiles. Their body odour ranged from freshly clean to stale deodorant and finally to the “Lord I need a shower” category. And their emotions, carefully revealed, matched the crazy diversity of countless clothing styles.

Every last one of them are in the game. They arrived ready to learn. They already sense that there are good people here.

We have a bunch returning from last year.

Quiche looked more manly.

Seb suffocated me with her bear hug.

Sap pulled out his John Lennon sunglasses, walking around the living room strumming a guitar. Teens love to try on new identities. Sap’s new look is kinda cool, I have to admit.

Mal the mensch (a yiddish word for a stand-up and reliable person) arrived as solid as ever.

Could L. have grown half a foot in barely four months?

And K, now the Elder student, is the grandma of the clan at the ripe old age of 17. She’s been here the longest, commands the most respect, and is poised to lead, in her charmingly humble and quiet manner.

I mentioned this to her.

“Who, me?”

K. had a shitty summer, and is glad to be back so she can find her groove again.

I greeted Ewe with a familiar refrain. “How’s my least favourite student?”

He chuckled, but the phrase has grown old. I need to find new ways to tease him. Last night, Ewe was quite the spokesperson for the group.

He was asked to introduce the course directors. He rehearsed with Stephen, a Mentor.

With his mischievous smile, he asked Stephen, “What do you want me to say? They’re directors of courses, duh.”

When the time came, he raised his expansive hands in front of the group, did a 360 degree scan of the room, and announced,

“Meet Jim and Dave. They direct courses. They’re good.”

This actually hit home with the new kids.

There is much cautious energy in with the new students.  They are careful. As they should be. Everything is pure novelty.

I spoke to this last night. I suggested that novelty and uncertainty are key ingredients to adventure. Yet when we are in new situations, we crave comfort.

How to resolve this contradiction of needs?

I promised a few things.

That the staff here will try and “see” you. Really see you. And to sincerely try to understand what you need. I pledged that we shall be as accommodating as we can be. I do believe that they believed me. But there is much honest respect to earn and to exchange.

I also promised that we shall be demanding. That every one of them has obligations to each other.

And to resolve these contradictions, we merely need to be good to each other. Through thick and thin. Just be decent.

You could hear a pin drop.

The returning kids are settling in quickly. The new kids are looking around, dipping their toes into their new community. And they are fine.

This session has started beautifully.

I’ll write again in about ten days.



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Steven Gottlieb
Steven Gottlieb