WARNING: THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS A BIG FAT MUSHY HEARTFELT FAREWELL AS YOUR CHILDREN'S GUIDE. FEEL FREE TO STOP READING IMMEDIATELY. IN FACT, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU DO.
First off, I take back everything I have ever said about the hero's journey and finding a calling in life. It is NOT worth it. It is a vicious lie. Turn back now before it's too late! If you ever leave the Shire, you are bound to regret it...so go back to that comfy recliner as fast as you can!
Second off, I wanted to share the wisest quote ever by Michael Scott. so you'll know my ultimate purpose for this email: "There are five stages to grief, which are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. And right now, out there, they are all denying the fact that they're sad, and that's hard, and it's making them all angry. And it is my job to get them all the way through to acceptance, and, if not acceptance, then just depression. If I can get them depressed, then I'll have done my job."
Just kidding, I actually hope the opposite. I hope the beauty of this tribe will inspire you. To that end, I wanted to share the sweetest thing I have ever seen in my life. It demonstrates just how unique Aim really is. I mean, when you really consider what I am about to share, it's downright crazy.
Yesterday morning, in keeping with tradition, we watched the lip dub from the beginning of the year to a room of laughs and smiles. Then the lip dub from last year was requested. Perhaps even more laughs ensued as the eagles got a kick out of how young they all looked.
However, a few tears were shed as the faces of some of their dear friends no longer at Aim come up on the screen.
Later, the eagles gathered in the lab at 10:45 for a surprise. I could hardly contain myself haha. I spoke of some of the 'firsts' at Aim and told the eagles that they were going to experience a new 'first'. Think about the very first challenge that was ever completed at the school. Or the first milestone. The first badge ever earned! The first dance party. The first house cup. The first EB ever earned (or asked for...) The first time we welcomed new fellow travelers. The first song, wall sit, and disputes committee meeting!
And some more important 'firsts'. The first time someone cried at Aim. The first time the eagles put their whole hearts into something. The first time they felt something stir deep inside their souls and they knew they had a calling a life.
A year ago on the last day of school, we had a new 'first' as we said goodbye to the beloved founding eagles that briefly joined me on stage yesterday :) When they left, we talked about how when you walk the road of trials side-by-side, day after day, you begin to occupy some space in your fellow travelers' hearts. The pain that comes when they rip that part of your heart away can be excruciating. [See opening paragraph]
What we didn't talk about last year, was about how your heart will fill back up to overflowing with joy the first time they come back to visit. There were literally gasps and a few screams as the eagles began to realize what might be happening. I then invited our guests in. And I don't know if I will ever see anything so sweet the rest of my life.
When the girls walked in, their long lost friends jumped out of their seats with excitement, then immediately began sobbing, nearly uncontrollably, as they ran as fast as they could to embrace their loved ones. They swarmed around them, in the best group hug I have ever seen. Their closest friends embraced them tighter than they have ever hugged anyone, literally weeping into their necks. The tears of sadness at the loss they felt while watching the lib dip only an hour before were replaced with tears of joy.
And it wasn't just a few of their closest friends who were crying. The guides were crying. Boys and girls throughout every studio were crying. Really, the entire tribe they left behind was. Like I said, I've never experienced anything quite like it.
When I realized that nobody recorded it, at first I was devastated. But then it dawned on me that a moment like that really is too sacred for cameras and smartphones.
Now think about that for a moment...what other school on the planet would experience something like that? Tell me one other place in the world where you might find boys and girls of all ages, yes even teeneagers, crying about two elementary age girls returning to visit for a few short hours. That is unreal. It's honestly so absurd you might not believe it if you hadn't seen it. I'm sure none of these eagles' non-Aim friends would understand it if our eagles ever shared this with them. At least not experientially. And how could they? This is the stuff out of movies. These heroes at Aim are living some of the greatest stories and adventures the world will ever know. Just watch them change the world.
I warned them a few days ago that when they wake up on Monday morning back in the Ordinary World, (or maybe even this morning) the voices of the world will begin to tell them that what happened in the hallowed halls of Aim this year wasn't real. It was a fantasy. There aren't any real heroes anymore. That is the stuff of fiction. But don't fall for it eagles! And remember what you learned here.
And years down the road, when the world's voices become even louder, and the stakes are even higher, do not fall for it! When the most important moment of your life comes and the world is telling you that you're crazy, and your cause isn't just...remember what you've learned here and Do Not Draw Back.
In that moment, hold on to your loved ones, hold on to your calling in life, and everything else you believe in. Hold on as if life depended on it--because it does! Your life and the lives of others. And then you tell the world you are never letting go of your dreams and if the world wants them, it's going to have to pry them out of your cold dead fingers. Because short of that, you aren't letting go.
There are countless people in this world who desperately need a hero. These eagles are going to be their heroes.
I hope you all have the best summer of your lives :) I can't wait to hear all about them! Yes, it will be as Head of School instead of Guide, but I can't wait to hear everything nonetheless.
Our story isn't over yet. Not by a long shot.