Dear Grade 10 Parents
It has now been 11 days since Odyssey Group One departed Oakhill and they have already travelled a vast distance on foot, by canoe and bicycle. I have had the good fortune of seeing each group and interacting with both the leaders and the young men and women who are on this journey.
I can assure you that they are all well, despite a few knocks, bruised egos, and friend issues which need to be sorted out. Ultimately this is the very reason for allowing them to participate in this facilitation. I can also assure you that they are learning to deal with the consequences of their actions. They are learning that they cannot move through the world alone – that they need to lean on others when they are feeling down. They are learning to find strength within themselves, emotionally and physically that they never thought was possible. They are growing and becoming more independent with every day and they are also finding that they need to take responsibility for their decisions at every turn.
Are you missing them? I am sure you are and I can assure you that they are beginning to find it within themselves to miss you too. I have heard the most fantastic comments about mom’s food and how they are going to help more around the house and how they have taken things for granted and how this has to change. They are reflecting on the moments in time that they have taken their circumstances and their family and friends for granted and they know, deep down, that this cannot continue.
Ladies and gentlemen this is a process of metamorphosis, a process of deep introspection about the person they are and ultimately about the person they want to become. As adults we have learnt these lessons in various ways and I am encouraged that you have given them the opportunity to learn these lessons as they wander through beautiful countryside with friends.
So, are they finding it tough? I have no doubt that they are, at times, struggling within themselves to come to terms with the changes that are happening as the days unfold. It is always difficult to see yourself reflected by the reactions of those around you on a daily basis for three weeks.
I have also pondered about whether I should comment on some of the rumour and fear-mongering I have heard, regarding what is actually happening on the ground but I have decided not to because, I can say without any worry that all your children are safe, warm at night, well fed and thriving in every aspect. This does not mean that some have not been treated for blisters on their feet, or scratches on their arms or a bout of diarrhoea, or that I have not asked for a doctor to treat a bad blister or twisted ankle but in each of these cases we have contacted the parents concerned regarding what is happening.
So, if you have not been contacted, rejoice that nothing minor or serious has happened to your son or daughter and furthermore please be assured that nothing serious, in terms of injury has happened at all.
Lastly, as I write this letter, I am about to join Group Three on a cycle leg and am thoroughly looking forward to the interaction with them. I also know that many of you expected a letter from your sons and daughters and have not yet received them. The fact is that some of them have not yet written them – this does not mean that they do not love you or care about you – I assure you they will write and they will be delivered.
These young men and women are certainly growing up, becoming more independent and self-aware and I find this exciting but, like you, I also find it frightening. Please continue to support them, encourage them but please do not stress about the process – we will look after them!
Please email me should you want to chat about something that is concerning you. I will reply in between fixing a bicycle puncture or sharing a moment with Group Three today and Group 4 tonight.
8 March 2012