This week the seniors are participating in the “Senior Transition Retreat.” The purpose of these two days away from school is to help prepare them for the new chapter of life they will face in just a few short months. A big part of transitioning well is the issue of goodbyes, and one of the sessions they have will focus on how to do that well.
A couple years ago I wrote the article below about the importance of leaving well and felt it merited being posted again. Whether you are leaving at the end of the semester or not, you will be saying goodbye to someone, so I would encourage you to read on. . .
A well-known speaker and author on the topic of third culture kids and transition, David Pollock, shares the following advice. “If you go away from a place without saying good-bye to it — not just to people, but to the place itself — you’ll carry this strange anchor behind you. You can’t say good hellos if you haven’t said good good-byes.”
He suggests you build a RAFT. The letters of the word “raft” are an acronym:
- Reconciliation — resolve interpersonal conflict
- Affirmation — express appreciation for relationships and experiences
- Farewells — say clear good-byes to people, places, possessions, even pets
- Think destination — check to be sure your expectations are realistic, neither overly positive or negative
Adequate farewells are an important part of leaving and preparing for moving to a new place. Saying good-bye to people and places (yes, even verbally saying good-bye to places!) helps create a smoother conclusion. Think about your life where you’re currently living. In order to plan for closure, you need to answer a few questions: Who are the people who have been important to you? What places have had special meaning? What activities have you enjoyed most? Now that you’ve identified meaningful people, places, and activities, you can decide how you want to bring about closure. For each one, decide how, when, and where you’ll say goodbye. Don’t forget to include ordinary everyday things because you’ll miss those too.
Even if you are not leaving Dalat or Penang, as you read this article you may have thought about some steps that you should take in saying goodbye to those who are moving on. I would encourage you in the coming months to take the time and energy to say goodbye well.