How to Say Goodbye - The End of Term Conversation
I’ve just come back from compering my children’s school talent show. I got to wear my favourite oranges and lemons shirt that I wore in touring theatre in Germany in the late 90s.
Now here I am wearing it again this time in front of my own kids and six hundred others. Now that’s a good audience to keep your presentation skills in check!
As we come to then end of the school year my son who is starting secondary school in September is starting to have those end of term conversations, say his goodbyes and his thank yous – at least that’s what his parents imagine and hope he’ll be saying.
An adult believes that the last conversation is the all important one, one that can carry the depth of gratitude you wish to express, with the right words at the right pace, with the right level of eye contact and for the right amount of time.
Perhaps we should release the pressure we feel and be more like children, who will be more than likely having some hand slapping, hugs and shouts of “see you around!, as they climb into parents cars or walk home via the park tomorrow afternoon.
When I return in September on the school drop it is only then that I won’t see some of the Mums and Dads I have made my nods and “mornings” to over the last six years of my son being there.
If you’re reading this and leaving somewhere I would suggest that this is the conversation that you can’t plan and in many ways shouldn’t. The objective should be that there is no objective, just seeing what comes from saying farewell to those you’ll miss and those that’ll miss you.
The only thing you need to be prepared for which you can’t prepare for is how you’ll react when someone expresses kindness, and perhaps decides to hug you for the first and last time!
When my youngest leaves this school, well that will be different, that will be the end of term - end of all terms conversation that I don’t have to contemplate yet.
At the end of the talent show as all the beaming and excited kids filed out having seen their winners perform again, my middle child looked for me and held out her arms beckoning me over to hug her.
“Can I do that?” I asked the teacher next to me, who had organized the event. “Yes Jeremy, it is your privilege, she said. And with that no conversation was needed, only an action, and hugged she was!
Sometimes no conversation is needed at all.