To a Young Mariner
So, I took my own advice from the blog yesterday and contacted one of the "i can" teachers from my own life to let her know that I think of her every year at this time because she was (and continues to be) instrumental in my life as a teacher and a leader. Aside from planting seeds of confidence and hard work in me at a relatively young age, this teacher also tended to me when I was least willing to accept her kind but forceful admonitions and examples. When our time together was nearing its end, and our relationship concluding (or, so I thought), this teacher gave me a book of poems . . . one of which I have read at the beginning of every school year and now, as a Headmaster, I share it with the faculty as we begin the important work we do with children and parents. This poem captures with care and wisdom the charge that teachers accept every year . . . and in every century, especially the 21st:
To a Young Mariner, by Martin Prouty
I cannot set your sail, my child,
For every wind that blows.
Or hold your rudder fast and firm
Through every tide that flows.
I cannot guide your ship to port
Or fend the tempest’s shock;
I cannot quell the rising wave
Or save you from the rock.
But I can teach your hand to keep
The canvas taut and true,
And how to hold the tiller firm
That it may steer you through.
And I can teach your steadfast heart
And train your eager eye
To master your own ship and find
The stars to steer her by.
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