My generation was born of a terrible war
Ended by bombs never imagined before
Mothers lost children, husbands and brothers
The ones that returned were no longer sweet lovers
Yet the same education that led us to war
Continued - amazingly - just as before
Rewards and punishments stayed in the schools
Producing new soldiers who’d obey all the rules.

Then by the millions, my peers revolted
And back to the land and the communes they bolted.
Love and peace were the slogans of millions of hippies
Refusing a life confined to the cities.
Refusing later to respond to the Vietnam draft
By leaving the country by stealth or by craft
Where they home-schooled their children as best as they could
Living simply, they learned to carry water, chop wood.

Soon, sharing these tasks had seemed like hard work
And some would rise to it; others would shirk.
Many of the hippies began to lose heart
As politics and pettiness tore their communes apart.
We had given in, failed, that much we knew
Then crept back to the jobs that we’d been trained to do.
We’d had no tools for conflict, just like before
Thus prepared the ground for the next bloody war.

The movement itself though was an education
It taught us that we weren’t the greatest of nations
And that our religion was no better than yours
And other wrong thinking that causes our wars.
We discovered that wars could not be enacted
If we raised free-thinking children who’d refuse to be drafted
We studied the truths that our gurus unfurled
And set out to enlighten our children’s new world.

So here i now come to my apology to you
We weren’t very clear on what we had to do.
We created new schools as we had done before
Though our grass seemed much greener and purple the door.
We still didn’t get what our egos were doing
Our selfishness bringing the planet to ruin
By depleting the bounty of the many resources
Huge houses and cars and meals of four courses.

Yes, we struggled for years to refine fancy intents
And still we compromised, to pay all the rents
We spent years dialoguing - so much to discuss
To discover the myriad problems were us!
It was hard when we thought all paths had to be tossed
With nothing to guide us, we often were lost
We studied the teachings, but with no one to follow
And truths in a book can ring awfully hollow.

So as we pass on the baton, reflect what we’ve done
More wars have been fought; still no-one has won
We taught you about conflict, how to argue, to fight
Without physical violence; to be right without might
With small classes in nature and teachers who care
Who tried to be open and honest and fair
While government schools went for high SAT scores
While telling the students it’s fine to fight wars.

We were given the task to set you children free
To erase the conditioning so that you’re able to see
That we all are interconnected both near and afar
That if we step on a flower, we trouble a star.
Yes we tried to be honest; tried to be fair
Making great efforts - trying to be more aware
Which is just more promotion of a separate you
An illusion trying (effortlessly?) to believe that it’s true!

Yes we’ve left you a mess; that much can be said
Have we given you insights with which you’ll be led?
To fix the damage to earth, we need something new
Something without the taint of the ‘you’
(I so wish i could end with great things you can do
But that might come from my taintedness too).
So forgive us, our education was riddled with trauma
We pray you can break out of this cycle of karma.