Hello everyone, I am Kim Speek. My husband Peter and I are the parents of senior student Téa Speek. We’ve been part of the Shining Mountain community since Téa started kindergarten here 13 years ago. I was extremely honored but also surprised when I was asked to share tonight because I’ve always been a behind-the-scenes kind of parent. But here I am in front of all of you!
I’d like to begin with a song called Dreamers and some images of people that helped to bring us together here today … [Slide show presented at this time]
All of us, we are the dreamers…
The photos were of many of the grandparents of the class, both living and passed and some who are with us here tonight, including Téa’s grandmother, Julie Cavaliere, and grandfather, Tim Welch.
I’d like to ask all the grandparents who are here tonight to stand if they are able. On the behalf of the parents and these seniors, I would like to express our gratitude to the grandparents for all of the gifts that they have given us.
These beautiful and wise elders have given us life, and love and lessons…they have helped to shape who we are today and they played a role in our decision to choose this school. Thank you, grandparents.
Grandparents, now that you are seated, close your eyes and take a moment to remember when you were a senior graduating from high school. What were your dreams, your fears? Did you ever imagine at that time what it would be like to be a grandparent and witness your grandchildren’s future appearance on this stage? Feel the pride, the vast potential they represent and the dreams that they will carry forth into the world for you.
Parents of these students, remember your high school graduation, connect with your parents that are here today in physical form or in spirit form, and your beautiful children sitting here on the stage. Touch in with the lineage of your past and your future.
Friends and family that are here to stand witness today, feel into the lineage and hold a space for all there was and all that there will be for these young people on the stage.
And now, Seniors, take a moment to imagine what it was like for your grandparents and your parents to graduate from high school. How at the time of their graduation your existence was a shining star of the future. Think about how you are connected to your family not only by blood, but also by spirit and dreams—theirs and yours. Look into the future at the possibility of your own children and grandchildren and the vast love and influence that you will have on their dreams. Imagine their future appearance sitting on a stage with you in the audience. Just like Téa’s Grandmother Julie is here as her witness right now.
So how did we all, past, present and future, come to be here, right now in this very magical moment? Why did we as parents choose to send our children to this particular school? How did we all choose to be in this community together?
I like to think back to when my daughter Téa was ready to “graduate” from pre-school. The stress and worry I felt, trying to decide what kindergarten would be best for her. At the time, I was involved in a very conscious and engaged mother’s group. We were from various backgrounds and there were different opinions, but all of us agreed that we wanted to slow things down, nurture our children, and most important of all, keep them safe.
When Peter and I first went to the open house at Shining Mountain, Barbara and Ian Edwards, parents of Gavin who is also graduating today, came along with us. We became friends with Barb and Ian in child-birthing class, a month before our children were born.
All four of us were enchanted with the curriculum and the Waldorf philosophy. We felt that our lives would have been enriched if we had received an education like this. We loved the magic, the pace, and the safety in which the children were nurtured and meaningfully educated.
As we got back into the car after the tour, we all shed some tears as we explored our personal feelings about schools. That first step in a new direction was difficult and most important. We decided to put our trust into these Waldorf teachers.
I’d like to express profound gratitude from our parent group and our seniors for the way their incredible and committed teachers, coaches and administrators have so beautifully held and nurtured our children.
As parents, we have volunteered for, organized, and witnessed countless plays, musical performances, events like Pentathlon and Medieval Games, class trips, festivals, and triumphant or heartbreaking athletic competitions.
For 13 years this parent community has shared deeply and intimately so many, many things. I have never known a community with such depth and connection before all of you came into my life. We have all experienced such powerful feelings of love, anger, gratitude, conflict, forgiveness, healing, connection, laughter, heartbreak and joy.
Our journey has been meaningful and fulfilling but it hasn’t been easy. Sometimes the depth of emotions felt like too much for me, I would feel overwhelmed and need to retreat. I’ve often wondered if anyone else ever felt that, too? We’ve been through so much, and we have done it together—illness, accidents, marriage, divorce, death and birth—many powerful and heart wrenching events again and again. And while this parent group is rich with joy, love and connection, it’s also important to remember as we celebrate this milestone that it would serve us well to forgive anyone, including ourselves, for the things that have hurt us or our personal and private regrets over these past years.
Recently, Fiona Havlish sent a vulnerable and courageous letter to our parent group. She cited a beautiful and ancient practice that originated in the islands of the South Pacific called Ho’o ponopono. It is a simple prayer that clears past wounds to make things healthy for an individual, our family or our community. The words for this simple ritual are straight forward and I offer them now for each of us and for our community, to let go of pain from the past, make a place for inner peace, and create a healing closure.
“I’m so sorry…Please forgive me…I forgive you…Thank you… I love you…”
The heart of each of us is made up of our lineage, our community and our experiences. Eventually all merge into one so that everyone you know helped to build your heart. Seniors, your heart is part of your lineage and your community and it will help to carry you on your journey out into the world. May your journey be blessed with a hunger for life filled with purpose, deep meaning and profound love.
I’d like to conclude with this poem written by David Whyte.
My Daughter Asleep
~ David Whyte
Carrying a child,
I carry a bundle of sleeping future appearances,
I carry my daughter adrift on my shoulder,
dreaming her slender dreams
And I carry her beneath the window,
watching her moon lit palm open and close
like a tiny folded map,
each line a path that leads where I can’t go,
so that I read her palm not knowing what I read
And walk with her in moon light on the landing,
not knowing with whom I walk,
making invisible prayers to go on with her where I can’t go,
conversing with so many unknowns
that must know her more intimately than I do.
And so to these unspoken shadows and this broad night
I make a quiet request to the great parental darkness
to hold her when I cannot,
to comfort her when I am gone,
to help her learn to love the unknown for itself,
to take it gladly like a lantern for the way before her,
to help her see where ordinary light will not help,
where happiness has fled,
where faith cannot reach.
My prayer tonight
for the great and hidden symmetries of life
to reward this faith I have
and twin her passages of loneliness with friendship,
her exiles with home coming,
her first awkward steps with promised onward leaps.
May she find in all this,
day or night,
the beautiful centrality of pure opposites,
may she discover before she grows old,
not to choose so easily between past and present,
may she find in one or the other
her gifts acknowledged.
And so as I helped to name her
I help to name these powers,
I bring to life what is needed,
I invoke the help she’ll want following these moonlit lines
into a future uncradled by me
But parented by all I call.
As she grows away from me,
may these life lines grow with her,
keep her safe,
so with my open palm
whose lines have run before her to make a safer way,
I hold her smooth cheek
and bless her this night and beyond it
and for every unknown night to come.