the road trip is where all the magic happens

You will come to know more about my road trips and the lessons I learn from making the journey important as I write and share more. For now though, I want to share my end-of-year speech with you. I want to leave you with an idea, a metaphor for the future. I want to hand over my secret to success.

I love road trips. We’ve done a few at school, pre-covid. I’ve done a few with family and friends. I think if you like road trips then you can do the work that I do here, at Omatas. You can journey with an easy enjoyment, knowing that we will get there and when we get there, we will be better because the journey gave us something a superhighway cannot. It gave us the in-between parts.

In the bustle of everyday life and trying to get to the end of everything – the end of the grade, the end of the year, the end of the programme, the term, the day, the lesson, the worksheet, the end of a sum – we forget that it is the journey that gets us there.

The journey is the magic. It is the space between not knowing and knowing, the space between now and then, here and there. The space between not-yet and ah-hah.

If we have no in-between then we fail to honour the process and the struggle of achieving the goals.

I watched a training video this week where a Dad was being asked to narrate to his young son in his arms what he saw his son doing. There was silence after the request. A few moments passed and the facilitator asked the Dad why he was not saying anything. The Dad replied, I will when he starts doing something. In those silent moments the young child had been shaking his bottle, turning it around, swapping hands – he was doing so much – he just wasn’t drinking from it.

Our children cannot afford to wait for us to notice only what we want them to be able to do. We have to notice it all. The child was on a journey to discovering how to get his hands to get this bottle to his mouth and the Dad missed all of that.

Every day, your child is learning, and they will continue. A little learning gets dripped into the bucket every moment of every day.

Your children’s buckets are filled with maths and literacy and sciences and optimism and gratitude and kindness and mudballs and bee stings and laughter and art and friendships and drama and determination and belief and joy. Their bucket holds a rainbow of life that brings them to the next step, the next exciting journey that they are ready to explore.

Then you get to the end of a road trip, like this, with more than you ever thought your bucket could hold and the promise of more capacity into the future. It is exciting and energising and rewarding.

Your children are seen here at school, every day. We watch as they try to wriggle out of work that scares them or makes them feel inadequate.  We see how they steel themselves from showing that they care. We watch them avoid and skeem and strategies how they might get out of more work. But we are patient, and the road trip is ahead so we wait and we show them again how capable they are in life and we work on the edges of their fear until one day they take our belief in them and they turn it into their belief in themselves.

Today we say farewell to some very special children. Children who shine their own lights now, who now carry their own belief with them. No matter what happens next they can reach into their bucket that filled up, drip by drip and they can do the hard things, with a smile and hopefully remember how much we believe in them now and always.

By showing up every day, drip by drip the magic happens and your children learn that they can, that they will, that they are worth it.

They have left a mark here, not scratched into the desk but etched into each of us, their peers older and younger and their teachers, past and present.

At this part of the journey, a few of you get off and wave your goodbyes as some of us have still a ways to go. The door of the bus closes and we watch you through the windows, waving until you are out of sight. And we turn to each other and smile. Let’s go!

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