For the 2015 Graduates of Blue Ridge School
It happens the same this time each year.
We send a new crop of you boys from here,
But deep inside we have one fear,
For truth be told, it's never quite clear,
Whether we've done our job to guide and to steer
You off into the right direction.
Our intentions reach beyond perfection
In hope that combined affection and correction,
Would have some measured direct effect,
But still, somehow, we do suspect,
Despite what we say we do expect,
That if someone really went and checked,
They'd find our fears you boys reflect.
We always can say we tried to teach you,
But do we ever really reach you?
So often we go and keep on going
Without really ever knowing
That you boys have really ever grown,
Despite what our fears and doubts have shown.
Just one year, or maybe once upon a dream,
Our wishes could be answered, it would seem,
If we could find a way to scheme,
And make one boy actually be the complete
Summation of our balance sheet.
For we'd finally get a chance to see
Exactly what one boy could be,
Who had taken all we had to give
With him into the world to live.
He'd be the embodied combination
Of every lesson and situation,
The full fruition of his education,
Built on a firm and just foundation.
When it came to math and science,
His skills would come through in full compliance,
And when it came to reading history,
There'd be no time that was a mystery.
He'd know English, Spanish, Chinese, too.
There'd be nothing this boy couldn't do,
And believe me even this'd be true:
There be no hoop he wouldn't breeze through.
He'd be an athlete, a singer, and an actor,
An artist, the smartest, with no detractor,
In every situation be the constant factor.
There'd be no challenge that e'er could buck him,
And never have to be told his shirt to tuck in.
He'd never fail to get out of bed,
Or have his hair too long upon his head.
He would, then, from here instead,
Head out into the world equipped,
With bulging biceps, fully ripped,
Never having ever slipped,
Or once deviated from the script.
He'd complete the rites of passage twice,
For only once just might suffice,
But why be bothered by bottom lines,
When the light of virtue always shines
Just above where your hand has been
To the beyond direction you're going in.
He'd stand forever and face his fear,
Never failing to persevere.
In all he'd say, he'd be sincere,
And stand tall a model for his peers.
When it came to brothers keeping,
In he'd come swiftly sweeping.
Never would you find him sleeping.
Right into the thick, he'd be always leaping.
He'd know the Golden Rule back and forth,
Be the constant compass pointing north,
A guide for all the other lost,
Who into trouble just had crossed,
And on the wind been turned and tossed.
They'd look to him and they would know
Exactly which way they should go,
And safe returning even so,
Rising back up from down below.
He'd seek and always find success,
Always more and rarely less,
Not just in money, but in nobleness,
Finding family, and ease to stress,
With friends abounding numerous,
Ever grateful that he'd been blessed.
I can go further, on and on,
In this my vision, description of perfection,
But I think you hear just where this song
Has missed the boat, and so has gone
Woefully, frightfully, perfectly wrong,
For though we've tried to shape and mold you
To our vision, we can't just hold you,
Despite all the things we've done and told you
Because you see, you're still the old you,
The perfectly made, shining gold you,
All we can hope is you find the bold you,
Deep inside, but seeking to shine through,
In everything you say and do.
No matter what, it's better to be you,
And though we push and raise the bar higher,
Planting seeds and setting fires,
All in hopes that we'll inspire
You to be more. It's not to change you,
Or take you apart and rearrange you,
Nor would we ever try and exchange you.
No, we simply know the you inside,
The you, you many times have tried
To keep down in fear to hide.
Don't ever mistake the truth for lies,
Despite our growns, despite our sighs,
In spite of what our fears comprise,
As we watch you stand and rise,
Pride's what is gleaming in our eyes,
When one last time we call your name,
The same name you gave
When you began this game
Twelve or thirteen years ago
Little do you ever really know
Of what you will or can truly be,
Until the future comes into view to see.
Our experiences truly build the sum
Of what it is we do become,
So go from here, seek, search, and find,
And never ever in blindness bind your mind.
Just follow where'er Your path does wind,
~ Rev. Peter T. Atkinson
May 24, 2015