January 22, 2019: On Saturday, Harpswell celebrated Parents’ Day at the TT dormitory. Parents’ Day is celebrated by Harpswell every other year. Over 100 Harpswell parents and relatives traveled to the dorm for the celebration, with some parents traveling for more than six hours. It was a special day for families, students and staff. Harpswell’s Founder, Alan Lightman, shared his account of the day’s events:
“Today was the most powerful and moving event I have ever experienced at Harpswell. We started with opening remarks, which were followed by an Apsara dance performance by our students. Then a rep from each class gave a talk. Our students were confident, poised, and strong. We had music performed by our students on violin, guitar, piano, and voice.
For the final event, which was the most powerful of all, the parents or family members took turns sitting in chairs at the front of the hall, six at a time, and their daughters came up, kneeled in front of their parents, gave them flowers, and embraced them. This was all done in silence, with not a word spoken. Each group of embraces lasted for maybe half a minute or a minute.
This went on for a while, as after each group of parents and their daughters went through the ceremony, another group came up. There was hardly a dry eye in the house. It was totally authentic, real, unrehearsed, unvarnished. I cannot tell you how powerful this was. There are tears in my eyes just writing about it now. The Buddhists have a strong sense of the meaning of gratitude. I have never seen such an expression of gratitude, or love, or hope, in this fractured world.”
We are so grateful to the Harpswell parents for sharing this day with us.