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Wings and Roots

By Gail D. Schoppert
Wings and Roots

Gail Schoppert directed four major international schools in Kuala Lumpur, The Hague, Warsaw, and Rotterdam between 1978 and 1996. His poem “Wings and Roots” was quoted in graduation speeches this year at both the International School Manila and Bangkok Patana School. _________________________________________________________________________ WINGS AND ROOTS By Gail D. Schoppert We thought we couldn’t give them roots. We gave them wings. The things that nurture children can be named, Although they’re not the same In every home When you choose to roam outside your native land, And you have children, Be prepared for them to grow up special, And to grow up quick. They learn the trick of being with adults, And how to make friends fast. But not to make fast friends. When friendship ends each time a parent is transferred It is hard to trust. Just nothing seams to last. Overseas the family grows close, Depending on each other. But where are grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins? They are cast in distant, part-time roles. Some souls that should influence growing minds Are far away. And so the home, And so the school, Must fill their lives and set the rules. It would be good if we could slow our children down. They move so fast, becoming so mature so soon. We try to call the tune. They want to dance to music of their own. But when they’re gone and grown They will appreciate the fact we cared enough to tell them “no” From time to time. Here is a word of hope: We have raised three children overseas And we are proud of all the many things They’ve done because we gave them wings, And what we thought a minus really was a plus: They had to find their roots in us. _________________________________________________________________________ In sharing his poem with TIE, Gail Schoppert has additionally extended permission to cite and reprint “Wings and Roots” to any international school, for use in speeches or in newsletters. Kindly credit the author and let him know where and how the poem was used: [email protected].

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