Closings are usually perfunctory affairs, filled with evaluations and logistics and rides to the airport. As we finish here in Cambridge, there’s certainly an element of that- this post will ultimately include my closing reflections, as requested by the organziers- but the closing activity was much more profound than is typically the case. While there’s nothing new or fancy about it- it’s one that’s been done before, certainly- the elegant simplicity in it speaks to my Antiochian heart. By asking us to simply complete the sentence, “I stand for” with the name of a single child that we carry in us, we effectively returned to our emotional and physical homes before actually departing the safe confines of the hotel. We reminded ourselves and our peers that, at the heart of this work, it’s about kids. Kids who are full people with needs and dreams and special gifts that exist whether we personally value them or not. So that, in answer to the first question, is the single moment that stands out for me- that image of a room full of people standing and saying individually and in chorus, “I stand for a this child.” I can never actually say the name of the kid outloud- the lump in my throat keeps the words from coming out.
When I get home, back to the frenzy of students and papers and classes and clients and budgets and faculty meetings, I’ll tell my peers that for once, I actually had a chance to get Professionally Developed and that it was wonderful. That I let a group of trutsted colleagues carry me through a period of restful reflection that I really, really needed and I think I did the same for them
And at the end, if I had to render the whole experience into a single set of words, what would be the words that would come to the top for me? Connection. Support. Rest. Return.