A good friend emailed me this morning saying I had to read Ann Landers' column (now known as Annie's Mailbox, written by longtime editors as Ann Landers died years ago). It's a poem about a child leaving for college, a situation we're both in this summer. And it made me think about advice I'd give to other association executives who are balancing their jobs and parenting; and volunteering.
Members often make decisions about volunteering based on commitments to their kids too. [Note: I'll be very interested to see what ASAE's new "Decision to Volunteer" study/book has to say about that topic too.]
So today the poem, tomorrow the advice:
"Dear Annie: My daughter leaves for college in the fall. Many years ago, you printed a lovely poem called "Hold Fast the Summer." Can you reprint it? — Carmel, Ind.
Dear Carmel: With pleasure. Here it is:
Hold Fast the Summer
by Mary W. Abel
Hold fast the summer. It is the beauty of the day and all it contains.
The laughter and work and finally the sleep. The quiet.
Oh September, do not put your weight upon my mind.
For I know he will be going. This son of mine who is now a man -- he must go.
Time will lace my thoughts with joyous years. The walls will echo his 'Hello.'
His caring will be around each corner.
His tears will be tucked into our memory book.
Life calls him beyond our reach -- to different walls.
New faces, shiny halls, shy smiles, many places.
Greater learning -- he must go.
But wait, before he leaves, be sure he knows you love him.
Hide the lump in your throat as you hug him.
He will soon be home again -- but he will be different.
The little boy will have disappeared.
How I wished I could take September and shake it, for it came too soon.
I must look to the beauty of each new day, and silently give thanks."