Letter to Seniors: Marc Chabot

Letter to Seniors: Marc Chabot

Dear Class of 2020,

I join you this year in saying goodbye to Thetford Academy. Pandemic strangeness aside, I know that all of you will move forward to a new life that is largely unimaginable at this moment. What you make of it will be a mixture of your own doing in combination with other forces that are far beyond your control.

To help keep me sane when forces emerge far beyond my control, I keep three quotes nearby to help bring me clarity. 

The first one deals with something harder than the hardest job you’ll ever have, or the most challenging degree you’ll ever try for – your closest relationships. Rather than try to fix someone else, Esther Perel reminds me:

If you want to change the other, you change yourself. If a relationship is a set of interdependent parts, if you change one part, and you keep it consistent, sooner or later, the other one has to adapt.

The next comes from a favorite book (and film) by Michael Blake, Dances With Wolves. It is a story of a young man coming into being, learning that everything he believed was true about a group of people is completely false. The medicine man, Kicking Bird says to Lt. Dunbar/Dances With Wolves:

I was just thinking that of all the trails in this life…there is one that matters most. It is the trail of a true human being. I think you are on this trail, and it is good to see.

The third quote is from the late Senator Ted Kennedy, eulogizing his brother Bobby in June, 1968:

Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change…  My brother … saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it…  As he said many times, … “Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.”

Marc Chabot

Division Avenue High School, Levittown, NY, Class of 1977